Fire Science News for the Lake States Region - March 2014

In This Issue

Consortium Staff
Jack McGowan-Stinski
Program Manager

Administrative Committee
The Ohio State University
Charles Goebel, PI
David Hix, Co-PI
Eric Toman, Co-PI
Robyn Wilson, Co-PI
Michigan State University
Jessica Miesel, Co-PI 
Wayne State University
Dan Kashian, Co-PI 
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Greg Corace, Co-PI
USFS Northern Research
Brian Palik, Co-PI
Randy Kolka, Co-PI
Matt Bumgardner, Co-PI

Advisory Committee

Jim Barnier, WDNR
Marty Casselius, BIA
Paul Charland, USFWS
Theresa Gallagher, USFS
Dave Heaman, OMNR
Andy Henriksen, NRCS
Doug MIedtke, MN DNR
Russ Reisz, TNC
Michele Richards MI NG
Mark Sargent, MI DNR
Scott Weyenberg, NPS

March 2014: Volume 5, Issue 3

March and April Lake States Fire Science Webinars


On March 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST, 1:00 PM CST please join us for:
Characterizing Wildlife Communities of Fire-Dependent Ecosystems of the Northern Lake States and Exchanging Research, Inventory, and Monitoring Knowledge and Ideas
R. Gregory Corace, III (US Fish and Wildlife Service-Seney National Wildlife Refuge)
Lindsey M. Shartell (MN Department of Natural Resources) and
Dawn S. Marsh (US Fish and Wildlife Service-Seney National Wildlife Refuge)
To connect click on Wildlife and Fire
(Or you can copy and paste into browser:

(no registration required, please login as "Guest" with first and last name)
You may also connect through the Lake States webpage

The Lake States Fire Science Consortium (LSFSC), funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), is a network of fire managers and scientists interested in the fire-dependent ecosystems of the northern Lake States. To enhance our existing understanding of disturbances, vegetation, and wildlife and the integration of this knowledge into the management of northern Lake States ecosystems, we are initiating an information exchange whereby we will:
  1. improve our publicly accessible wildlife-fire literature citation database by seeking input from wildlife professionals who might identify missed information, especially theses and dissertations;
  2. evaluate state Wildlife Action Plans and other documents as appropriate and consult with state-level experts to identify wildlife (vertebrate species primarily) with high affinity for fire-dependent ecosystem types of particular interest to the LSFSC (i.e., not generalist species);
  3. identify individuals and organizations across the northern portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario that are conducting related inventory, monitoring, research and management and communicate this information with other interested parties;
  4. promote information exchange related to the above at one or more professional events (webinar and/or conference and/or field trips); and
  5. use all the above to draft a research needs statement that will be presented to JFSP through the LSFSC.
We will discuss the above and identify ways in which audience members can help by:
  1. contributing citations of academic theses/dissertations and grey (i.e., agency) publications related to fire in northern (primarily forested) Lake States ecosystems;
  2. identifying individuals and organizations described under #3, above; and
  3. forwarding this information to other interested parties.


On April 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST, 1:00 PM CST please join us for:

Incorporating Principals of Natural Disturbance into Development and Evaluation of Forest Management Guides for the Boreal Forest Region of Ontario
Rob Rempel (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)
Research Scientist
Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
To connect click on Fire in Ontario
(Or you can copy and paste into browser:

(no registration required, please login as "Guest" with first and last name)

 You may also connect through the Lake States webpage

The draft Forest Management Guide for Boreal Landscapes (Boreal Landscape Guide) provides direction to planning teams to help them set the broad strategic direction for their forest management plan. The guide describes the natural variability of our forests, based on three perspectives: 
  1. science-based models that simulate forest fires and other natural disturbances (i.e. what the forest could be like);
  2. historical records based on land surveyor’s notes from the late 1800s and early 1900s (i.e. what the forest did look like at one point in time); and
  3. areas that have not been managed, such as large parks (i.e. what the natural forest looks like now).
The draft guide then compares the current managed forest to the natural range of variation, and requires planning teams to select operations and management alternatives that will maintain that natural range or gradually change the current forest to resemble more closely what would occur naturally. The draft provides specific information on what type of trees and how many of each species would occur naturally, as well as where (i.e. the size and distribution of patches) they would likely occur in the province. This information and direction is provided on a sub-regional basis, and then broken down further for individual forest management units.
This version of the draft Boreal Landscape Guide addresses only the boreal forest region of Ontario. A similar document addressing the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest region was completed in March 2010 (ER Registry Number 010-5226).
If approved, the Boreal Landscape Guide will replace existing landscape level direction for this forest region currently found in the Natural Disturbance Pattern Emulation Guide, the Caribou Guide, the Moose Guide, the White-tailed Deer Guide, the Pileated Woodpecker Guide, and the Marten Guide.

Missed a Webinar? Check out the recorded and archived Fire Science Webinars!

Below is a list of completed webinars and summaries for 2014:

Climate and Fire in the Great Lakes Region
Chris Hoving, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • The climate is changing, and the climate for fire is changing
  • The only certainty is higher temperatures and more uncertainty
  • Fire in a fire-adapted system is neutral over the long-term.
  • Much more GHG emissions occur in decomposition relative to combustion. 
When is a Grassland Restoration Truly Restored? Examining Microbial Community Responses to Fire in Remnant and Restored Grasslands
Kathryn Docherty, Western Michigan University
Ryan Koziatek, Kalamazoo Nature Center
Ashley Anne Wick, Kalamazoo Nature Center

What’s going on below the restored prairie surface?
  • Extensive tilling has reduced the amount of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the soil
  • Fertilization causes soil nitrogen levels to remain high decades following restoration
  • Fertilization has changed the soil bacterial community
  • Restored prairie microbial communities use carbon more quickly than remnant prairie communities
  • Less belowground carbon storage in restored prairies than remnants, even 7 decades after restoration
What does prescribed burning do?
  • Increases soil pH, NH4+, NO3 - Overall carbon utilization remains the same
  • Increased metabolism of N-containing carbon substrates in restored prairie immediately following a burn
  • Belowground restoration tactics are necessary to restore historical microbial biodiversity and function.
  • Collaborating with land managers long-term is necessary to achieve goals.
Multi-scale Responses of Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes (Sistrurus catenatus) to Prescribed Fire
Matthew D. Cross, Bowling Green State University
  • Massasauga’s did not appear to alter daily movement, home range sizes and habitat use as a result of prescribed fire. 
  • Massasauga’s selected macro and microhabitat characteristics that favor thermoregulation (surface temperature, light intensity, surface vegetation, etc.)
  • In wetland habitats, refugia appear to be abundant enough to provide snakes with ample protection during prescribed fires.  Prescribed fires in plant communities where refugia may be less abundant, such as upland prairies, may cause more direct mortality than in wetland habitats.
  • In terms of habitat and ecosystem management, the mortality that may result from fire is outweighed by the benefits of the increase in habitat heterogeneity and maintenance of required habitat resources – fire can be a threat to an individual, but this threat is balanced by the positive effects of habitat improvement in response to fire
  • Burn unit size should be a small percentage of the available habitat
  • Conducting prescribed burns at different times of year may be beneficial to massasaugas. 
  • Brush piles resulting from restoration activities – burn in winter, remove from unit if practical, avoid construction near over-wintering sites
  • Overwintering sites - Managers should attempt to identify prior to management
Assessing the Drivers of the ‘Spring Dip’ in Foliar Moisture Content and their Potential Impact on Forest Fire Behavior
W. Matt Jolly, PhD, Research Ecologist, USFS, RMRS, Fire Sciences Laboratory 
  • Foliar moisture content changes are driven by changes in density
  • Density changes are primarily due to an increase in starch
  • Starch content may be the missing link in the increased flammability during the Spring Dip
  • Density or LFM can be measured throughout the season as a proxy for starch content changes
  • Dip timing is not constant and it is most likely a function of spring soil and air temperatures
  • Fire management decisions could be improved by incorporating a live fuel monitoring program and by extending the depth of the current study
  • More interest and support is needed to learn how these factors vary throughout the Great Lakes region
Elements of the National Weather Service Fire Weather Forecast
Casey Sullivan, Meteorologist and Fire Weather Forecaster, National Weather Service Chicago office 
  • National Weather Service - Mission, protection of life and property
  • Includes: All forecasts, watches, warnings, advisories, River forecasts, Aviation, Marine, Fire Weather, NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio
  • Fire Weather Program Manager at each office - Liaison between their fire/land managers/agencies and their offices
  • Incident Meteorologist (IMET) Trained and certified to provide on-site weather support during wildfires
  • NWS Fire Weather Forecasts include routine daily forecasts, Fire Weather Watch/Red Flag Warning, and Spot Forecasts
  • Fire Weather Elements include Surface Winds, Mixing Heights, Transport Winds, Ventilation Rate/Dispersion, Haines Index

New Facebook Page


Check out the new Facebook page for the Lake States Fire Science Consortium. The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point Fire Crew graciously assisted with the set up of the Facebook page for us. Please link to the Facebook page and follow the Consortium activities and events.

Fire Science Webinars from Joint Fire Science Program & LANDFIRE


TNC - LANDFIRE and the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) are offering a series of locally focused webinars in 2014, working across the country to present a three-part series that is designed to help land managers and others understand and use data resources to assist them when making decisions regarding large landscape projects. Each regional series follows the same template, beginning with “LANDFIRE 101,” the generic introduction to the project and products, followed by “Assessing Needs,” wherein the authors of a case study or report provide context and information regarding regional applications of LANDFIRE products on the ground. The third, “Customizing Data,” focuses on adapting national models for regional and local use.

Webinars are scheduled for noon ET, and are being recorded and posted on YouTube.

PART THREE: April 23

NOTE: The first of the Rockies webinar series, “LANDFIRE 101," is posted on YouTube.

Part Two was presented on March 20, 2014 and will be available on YouTube soon

Part Three:
April 23 at Noon ET: “Customizing Data.” Don Helmbrecht will explore how one can use LANDFIRE tools and models for assessment activities in the Rockies region, with a focus on fuels examples. He is a Wildland Fire Analyst with the USDA Forest Service TEAMS Enterprise Unit. REGISTER HERE

April 2nd at Noon ET: Kori Blankenship, Fire Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy, brings it all together by looking at methodology involved in “Modifying LANDFIRE Data for Local Conditions,” so as to adapt LANDFIRE data for specific needs. REGISTER HERE

What does Yarnell Hill mean to you? 

Many are struggling with how to talk about the Yarnell Hill fire tragedy.  Here is one resource that may help presenters get to a group dialogue.  
From Wildfire Lessons Learned  -  view the Yarnell Overview Power Point

Upcoming Fire Trainings 

The following fire training opportunities have been brought to our attention. If you are offering trainings in this next year please send information to Jack McGowan-Stinski so that we can post in future newsletters for you.
Basic Wildland Fire Courses - NWCG S-130/190, L-180

Michigan Prescribed Fire Council is conducting the on-line and Field Days S-130/190 course

Field Days June 21-22, 2014 at the Edward Lowe Foundation.

To register for the on-line portion and field days, contact Ryan Koziatek
Intermediate and Advanced Courses

Offered at Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wisconsin

Please contact Linda Schraa for more information
FFT2, and Portable Pumps – NWCG S-131/133, and S-211
May 21-24, 2014

Advanced Fire Behavior - NWCG S-390
June 4-7, 2014

June 2-6, 2014
Course Selections: S-130/190, S-131, S-133, S-200, S-211, S-21`2, S230, S-231, S-234, S-270, S-290, S-300, S-330, S-356, J-158, RT-130, L-280, D-110, EVOC Emergency Vehicle Operations

On-line Registration Forms

Conferences in Canada

Second Terrestrial Invasive Plant Species (TIPS II) Meeting
August 6-8, 2014 at the University of Toronto- Mississauga, Ontario

Wildland Fire Canada 2014
Integration and Accountability
October 7-9, 2014 at Halifax, Novia Scotia
Provides a forum for fire researchers and practitioners to exchange best practices and new ideas. Through the exchange of wildfire knowledge and information, the conference allows attendees to develop a deeper understanding about wildland fires from a variety of perspectives. Building on two successful conferences in 2010 and 2012, the Wildland Fire Canada conference series facilitates partnerships from a multitude of natural resource management and research disciplines.

Conferences in the U.S.

Midwest Great Lakes SER Chapter 2014 Annual Meeting
March 28-30, 2014 in St. Paul, MN
Large Wildland Fires: Social, Political, and Ecological Consequences
May 19-23, 2014 in Missoula, MT
The Society for Ecological Restoration partnered with the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration
to bring you the Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration
July 28-August 1, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana


99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
August 10-15, 2014 in Sacramento, California

Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference
October 20-22, 2014 in Duluth, Minnesota

Stewardship Network 2015 Conference

2015 Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems Conference

January 23 & 24, 2015 at the Kellogg Center - East Lansing, MI

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