Fire Science News for the Lake States Region - August 2016

August 2016:
Volume 7, Issue 8

The Spring Dip in Great Lakes Region; paper published on first few years of study


Seasonal variations in red pine (Pinus resinosa) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana) foliar physio-chemistry and their potential influence on stand-scale wildland fire behavior

W. Matt Jolly, John Hintz, Rodman L. Linn, Rachael C. Kropp, Elliot T. Conrad, Russell A. Parsons, Judith Winterkamp
Forest Ecology and Management 373 (2016) 167–178

The ‘Spring Dip’ in conifer live foliar moisture content (LFMC) has been well documented but the actual drivers of these variations have not been fully investigated. Here we span this knowledge gap by measuring LFMC, foliar chemistry, foliar density and foliar flammability on new and old foliage for an entire year from both Pinus resinosa (red pine) and Pinus banksiana (jack pine) at a site in Central Wisconsin.

We found that needle dry mass increased by up to 70% in just three weeks and these increases were manifested as strong seasonal variations in foliar moisture content and foliar density. These needle dry mass changes were driven by an accumulation of starch in old foliage, likely resulting from springtime photosynthesis onset, and also by accumulations of sugar and crude fat in new needles as they fully matured.Foliar starch, sugar and crude fat content accounted for 84% of the variation in foliar density across both species. Flammability differences were also strongly related to changes in foliar density, where density accounted for 39% and 25% of the variations in foliar time-to-ignition of jack pine and red pine respectively.

Finally, we use the computational fluid dynamics-based wildland fire model FIRETEC to examine how these foliar physio-chemical changes may influence wildland fire behavior. Under the lowest canopy density and windspeed, simulated fires in dormant condition stands did not propagate as crown fires while spring dip stands successfully spread as crown fires as a result of the higher potential energy content of the canopy. Simulated wildland fire spread rates increased by as much as 63%, nominal fireline width increased by as much as 89% and active fire area more than doubled relative to dormant season fuel conditions and the most significant changes occurred in areas with low canopy cover and low within-tree bulk density.

Our results challenge the assumption that live conifer foliage flammability is limited only by its water content; this study suggests a new theory and an expanded view of the factors that dominate live fuel flammability and that subsequently influence larger scale wildland fire behavior.

Launching the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team!

Summary by Abigail Ertel, Katie Koch, and Bill Rapai

No longer on the brink of extinction, the Kirtland’s Warbler is well on its way to long-term sustainability. That population growth is allowing us to rethink Kirtland’s Warbler conservation strategies and develop new goals and techniques to ensure conservation well into the future. 

Therefore, on March 31, 2016, we marked the transition from the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team to the launch of a new Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team as the organization that will develop and guide strategy into the future. 

Since March, the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team Steering Committee has been working to develop a full conservation team as the coordinating and information-sharing body for future sustainability of the species. We have been making definitive movement forward on key strategies of the Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative, which is the program that has been put in place to successfully transition the species from recovery to long-term sustainability.

In March, seventeen members of the steering team participated in a day-long meeting at Camp Grayling that focused on:
  • Generating a vision for Kirtland’s Warbler (KIWA) Conservation.
  • Identifying all potential elements in a fully developed KIWA Conservation Team.
  • Identifying the various avenues for engaging with the broader KIWA Conservation Community.
  • Agreeing on the purpose, role, and responsibilities of Steering Committee Members. 
  • Identifying and prioritizing milestones for achieving functionality of the KIWA Conservation Team by March 2017. 
What’s Ahead for the Steering Committee?
The steering committee has been hard at work since its March meeting, conducting monthly conference calls and focusing on the following tasks:
  • Reviewing recommendations from the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team (summer 2016)
  • Identifying subcommittees and filling positions (summer – fall 2016)
  • Developing a Conservation Team charter to guide decision making, priorities and planning needs (summer 2016)
  • Planning and hosting a Spring 2017 Kirtland’s Warbler Workshop open to the entire conservation community (fall 2016 – spring 2017)
How Can You Become Involved?
  • Sign up for our new email distribution list by providing your updated email/contact information to Abigail Ertel AND Katie Koch.
  • Participate in the Fall 2016 interactive webinar (introducing the subcommittees and ways to “plug in”); notification will be widely distributed in early September
  • Watch for announcements about a Kirtland’s Warbler Workshop in Spring 2017
  • For more information, to ask questions, or share updates on Kirtland’s Warbler conservation efforts that you are involved in, please contact Abigail Ertel, Community Program Lead, Huron Pines, (989) 448-2293, ext. 14

Analysis of Long-term Forest Bird Monitoring Data from National Forests of the Western Great Lakes Region

Niemi, Gerald J.; Howe, Robert W.; Sturtevant, Brian R.; Parker, Linda R.; Grinde, Alexis R.; Danz, Nicholas P.; Nelson, Mark D.; Zlonis, Edmund J.; Walton, Nicholas G.; Gnass Giese, Erin E.; and Lietz, Sue M.
Breeding bird communities in forests of the western Great Lakes region are among the most diverse in North America, but the forest environment in this region has changed dramatically during the past 150 years. To address concerns about loss of biodiversity due to ongoing forest harvesting and to better inform forest planning, researchers have systematically monitored forest birds in the region for more than two decades. This report summarizes forest bird data collected from 1995 through 2011 in four national forests of the western Great Lakes region (the Chequamegon and Nicolet in Wisconsin and the Chippewa and Superior in Minnesota). Of 187 bird species detected, 127 nest in forest or woodland habitats. Population trends were evaluated by national forest for 98 of the forest bird species, and across all 4 national forests for 49 species. Numbers of most species were stable or increased within and across the national forests during these 17 years. Habitat analyses are presented for 123 forest bird species and are discussed in the context of concurrent trends in climate, land cover, disturbance, and forest structure. Results suggest that different migratory guilds showed different responses to the regional warming during this period. Eight species that were in decline or otherwise of special concern were selected to demonstrate how knowledge gained from analysis of their populations, habitat, and life history could supplement current literature to inform regional conservation management. Ways to improve or optimize the bird monitoring methods are suggested. This report is the most comprehensive compilation to date of quantitative information on the population trends, habitat use, and community assemblages of forest breeding birds of this region.

Findings of Interest:
  • Over the course of 26 field seasons (1987–2012), participants in the 4 NF monitoring programs counted over 400,000 birds during more than 30,000 ten-minute point counts (>5,000 hr of sampling). WOW!
  • Four species significantly increased since 1995 in all four National Forests: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue Jay, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Ovenbird.
  • No species declined significantly in all four forests, but five species (Great-crested Flycatcher, Connecticut Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Song Sparrow, and Evening Grosbeak) declined significantly in two or three forests.
  • Timber harvest activity has declined across each of the NFs, with concurrent decreases in open land cover types that may have contributed to the relative stability in trends for bird species associated with mature forests as compared with those species associated with open and early successional habitats.
  • Development of practical management recommendations based on a group as diverse and adaptable as breeding birds is a significant challenge, especially for an entire region like the western Great Lakes. We focused on eight examples of birds that potentially need special attention based on regional or global population declines (i.e., Olive-sided Flycatcher, Magnolia Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, Scarlet Tanager, and Yellow-rumped Warbler).
  • Large areas of public forest play an important role in the maintenance of forest breeding bird populations in a region harboring forest bird communities among the most diverse in the United States and Canada.
These results illustrate the relative importance of habitat, climate, geography, and human development as drivers of bird species distributions in the study area.

The Joint Fire Science Program’s upcoming FON is expected to be open September 15 - November 17, 2016 

Potential topics: 
  • Resilient Landscapes 
  • Fire-adapted Communities
  • Effects of wildfire as a treatment 
  • Post-fire recovery
  • Safe and Effective Wildfire Response
  • Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) award
  • Landscape fuel treatment as a fire management strategy
  • Fire effects on herbaceous species, shrubs, and seed banks
  • Validating mesoscale, atmospheric boundary prediction models and tools
  • Factors that affect the co-management of fire “risk”
  • Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE) data collection & model evaluation


A Selection of Fire Articles, and Smoke Photo Guide

Articles and Guide listed below:
- August 2016 Edition of A Superior Research Reader
- Fire Ecology Journal 
- RxCADRE: A Special New Issue of Study Papers
- The Smoke Management Photographic Guide

August 2016 Edition of A Superior Research Reader

A Superior Research Reader is monthly reader produced by staff on the Superior National Forest about current and relevant research to science and resource management

In the August 2016 Reader, articles explore:
Fire Ecology Journal
  • Fire in Eastern North American Oak Ecosystems: Filling the Gaps
  • Sowing the Seeds of Fire and Oak in the Eastern US: a Tribute to Buell et al. 1954
  • Northern Long-Eared Bat Day-Roosting and Prescribed Fire in the Central Appalachians, USA
  • Repeated Application of Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA: Implications for Achieving Management Goals
  • Suites of Fire-Adapted Traits of Oaks in the Southeastern USA: Multiple Strategies for Persistence
  • Scale Dependence of Oak Woodland Historical Fire Intervals: Contrasting The Barrens of Tennessee and Cross Timbers of Oklahoma, USA
  • Hardwood-Pine Mixedwoods Stand Dynamics following Thinning and Prescribed Burning
  • Natural Canopy Damage and the Ecological Restoration of Fire-Indicative Groundcover Vegetation in an Oak-Pine Forest
  • Fire Effects on Wildlife in the Central Hardwoods and Appalachian Regions, USA
  • Oak, Fire, and Global Change in the Eastern USA: What Might the Future Hold?
RxCADRE: A Special New Issue of Study Papers

The RxCADRE study: a new approach to interdisciplinary fire research: International Journal of Wildland Fire Special Issue

High-resolution fire progression and heat release data are critical for understanding fine-scale fire behavior and fire effects, which in turn are needed to improve computational fluid dynamics-based fire behavior simulators.

Building on concepts from early grassfire experiments that helped quantify fuel–fire–atmosphere interactions, RxCADRE was designed to collect complementary data across multiple disciplines before, during and after the active burning periods of prescribed fires in grass-dominated fuels.
The series of papers in this issue cover every aspect of the RxCADRE project, from fine-scale fuel measurements to remotely sensed data.

The papers included in this special issue of the International Journal of Wildland Fire:
  • Illustrate the unprecedented scope of this large-scale, interdisciplinary field experiment
  • Document the rigorous science involved in the measurements of fuels, fuel consumption, fire behavior, smoke, and fire effects
  • Include a high level of coordination and cross-referencing between the study papers
  • Represent collaboration among 90 scientists from a broad range of disciplines and organizations.
RxCADRE is influencing the future of fire science and next-generation, process-based fire modeling through a new 5-year project called the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE), which is supported by JFSP. FASMEE will augment RxCADRE by focusing on fuel and consumption, fire behavior and energy, plume development and meteorology, smoke and chemistry, and applications in model simulations.
The Smoke Management Photographic Guide

Communicating emissions impacts to the public can sometimes be difficult because quantitatively conveying smoke concentrations is complicated. Regulators and land managers often refer to particulate-matter concentrations in micrograms per cubic meter, but this may not be intuitive or meaningful to everyone. 
The primary purpose of this guide is to serve as a tool for  communicating potential particulate matter (PM2.5) levels during wildfire events using visual representation.

New Fire Web Sources

Web Sourcs listed below:
- Spot Weather Forecast Page 
- NFDRS 2016
- A Not-For-Profit Wildland Fire Library

New Spot Weather Forecast Page goes operational on October 17, 2016

The new spot forecast request and monitoring software program is currently operational, and available for use or testing HERE (

At this time, you can either use the new or old sites for your spot requests.  On October 17, 2016, the old site will no longer be operational.

If you submit or monitor spot requests, please check out the link, so you can get comfortable with the new program.  A tutorial is also available HERE, which goes through all of the functionality of the new site, and provides step-by-step instructions on how to submit a request. 
Learn more about the new NFDRS2016
To develop consistency among protection agencies, the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) was developed in the early 70’s. It was designed around four basic guidelines. The research charter said the National Fire Danger Rating System would be:
a. Scientifically based.
b. Adaptable to the needs of local managers.
c. Applicable anywhere in the country.
d. Reasonably inexpensive to operate.

In 2000, work began to evaluate and refine the National Fire Danger Rating System.  Several opportunities for refinement and improvement were evaluated and a list of criteria for changes was developed. Revision and release of a new NFDRS is currently underway. This new system is much simpler and more automated than its predecessors and it represents a vast improvement in fire potential assessment capabilities.
Fire Research Institute: A Not-For-Profit Wildland Fire Library

"The Fire Research Institute (FRI) is a not-for-profit library holding around 135830 books, journal articles, videos, training manuals, dissertations, news reports, and other material on wildland fire. FRI serves you by providing you with a free monthly electronic newsletter listing new publications that have been released. FRI is grateful for bibliographic citations that you have on wildland fire. These citations may include your own work or any titles dealing with wildland fire. We also would be grateful for copies of your journal papers, dissertations or other materials on wildland fire. Larger donations made from the U.S. are tax deductions." - Jason Greenlee, Ph.D.

New Fire Apps

Apps listed below:
- Forest Service Research Data Archive 
- WindNinja-Mobile 
- Wildfire Web App

Mobile App for Forest Service Research Data Archive

Research Data Archive (U.S.Forest Service) is your source for high quality, citable research data about forest and grassland ecosystems. We publish and preserve research data created by scientists funded by the U.S. Forest Service (including long-term data from experimental forests and ranges), the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, and the Joint Fire Science Program. With this App you can explore data sets documented using the Biological Data Profile metadata standard, with review by the authors and the archive staff.
Go to your phone's app store to get the app
WindNinja-Mobile released!

The WindNinja computer program is a powerful tool for predicting wind fields in complex terrain, but is inconvenient for field users. To solve this problem, WindNinja-Mobile has been developed so field-going personnel can also benefit from these high resolution wind forecasts on their phones and tablets. This tool provides improved capability to identify areas with terrain influences where local winds may either increase fire behavior or not influence fire. Several map layers, including topographic and aerial imagery are available as basemaps. Additional fire-related information, including MODIS and VIIRS fire detections and GEOMAC fire perimeters, can also be viewed on the map.

WindNinja-Mobile is available in Google Play and iTunes.
New Wildfire Web Application Keeps You Informed

Wildfires Near Me:  a prototype Web application that keeps you informed about wildfires in your area of interest. Use the App to indicate your places of interest and receive an email or text message when a fire is possibly threatening that location.
For more information and to get the App, CLICK HERE

Searching for a Better Fire Shelter

The Forest Service Technology and Development Program is reviewing the wildland firefighter fire shelter system. The aluminized cloth tent offers a firefighter protection in the rare event of being entrapped --- a situation firefighters are trained to avoid. To ensure that the most advanced solutions are being explored, the Forest Service is collaborating with leading experts in textile engineering, including those at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia; North Carolina State University; University of Alberta; and private industry. NASA engineers are developing flexible heat shields to protect spacecraft from the high temperatures of atmospheric entry; and flexible heat shields and fire shelters have common performance requirements. Watch a 5-minute video on NASA's Web site about their collaboration with the Forest Service. Get more information about fire shelters at the National Interagency Fire Center Web Site.

From Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry News August 2016 Newsletter                       

2016-2017 Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) 

The 2016-2017 Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) application process is now open. 

Applications can be accessed via this website and will be accepted until September 23, 2016, 5pm MT.

During 2016-2017 five communities will be selected based on a competitive application process. Selected communities are not responsible for any direct costs associated with CPAW services provided, but staff time to participate is required. All advice and assistance given to the community will be limited to services that are intended to reduce the risk from wildfires. Local governments will retain sole authority for implementation of any land use planning recommendations provided through CPAW. 

Any community in the U.S. can apply, and eligible jurisdictions include towns, cities, or counties having authority over local land use and zoning decisions (unincorporated communities require county application). Only applications demonstrating support from both the community’s planning and fire departments will be considered.

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact Benjamin Yellin.

Advanced Fire Environment Learning Unit Webinar

An advanced notice and solicitation for webinar topic ideas...

Webinar Date and Time: November 2, 2016 AKST (0900-1100) PST (1000-1200) MST (1100-1300) CST (1200 to 1400) EST (1300 to 1500).

Target Audience: Fire Behavior and Fire Weather Specialists including Fire Behavior Analysts, Long-term Analysts, Geo-spatial Analysts, fire behavior Technical Specialists, IMET, and Predictive Services personnel.

Summary: As the fire community aspires to promote firefighter safety and best practices, this webinar strives to share information regarding lessons learned from the 2016 wildfire season.  Every fire season there are parts of the country that receive a lot of fire activity and consequently numerous fire specialists begin focusing on these areas to ensure fire-fighter safety and to develop short-, mid-, and long- term fire behavior assessments to support these efforts and management decisions.  An incredible amount of knowledge is gained and shared during these short periods of intense focus; yet often these practices and lessons learned are stored away, and not shared beyond the incident.

Please share any topics you would like to see discussed at the webinar at the following Google Form

Request for Comments on NWCG Prescribed Fire Complexity Rating System Guide

The NWCG Fuels Management Committee is seeking comments on proposed revisions to the draft NWCG Prescribed Fire Complexity Rating System Guide (PMS 424). The guide is a "decision support tool that illuminates the risk to values associated with the prescribed fire implementation." They encourage prescribed fire plan preparers, prescribed fire practitioners, agency administrators, fire management officers, and other pertinent personnel to respond to this request.   

Fire Trainings

If you are offering fire courses in the next year please send information to Jack McGowan-Stinski so we can post in future newsletters for you.
October 20-30, 2016 at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY

Conferences and Workshops in the Region

2016 Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference
October 17-19, 2016 in LaCrosse, WI

SAF 2016 National Convention
November 2-6, 2016 in Madison, WI

The Stewardship Network: 10th Annual Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems Conference 
January 13th & 14th, 2017 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing, MI

Conferences and Workshops in the U.S. and Canada

2016 SAF‐ITC Conference (Society of American Foresters and the Intertribal Timber Council)
October 5-7, 2016 at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights, Washington. 

The Wildlife Society’s 2016 Annual Conference
October 15-19 in Raleigh, NC

Wildland Fire Canada 2016: Building Resilience
October 24 to 28, 2016 in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The Wildland Fire Canada conference is a biennial conference series that brings together forest fire management practitioners, researchers and industry to highlight and discuss emerging trends in forest fire management. submissions! Abstracts for oral or poster presentations will be accepted until June 30th. 

Second International Smoke Symposium
November 14-17. 2016 in Long Beach, CA

3rd Southwest Fire Ecology Conference - Beyond Hazardous Fuels: Managing Fire for Social, Economic, and Ecological Benefits.and held concurrently with the held concurrently with the 1st Applied Fire Science Workshop
November 28-December 2, 2016.  Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona. USA. Organized by AFE and Southwest Fire Science Consortium.  

As part of the Southwest conference this year, we plan to host roundtable discussions designed to identify communication issues that occur during wildfires, to understand and appreciate varied perspectives, and to brainstorm scenarios where good communication enables managers to meet resource objectives more readily.  Socioeconomic implications of fire will also be a large part of the conference.  We will have Workshops & Trainings, Attached Meetings, Rx 310 Class, and several field trip options.  Plan to join us in Tucson for this important event! 
October 1, 2016 Proposals due for Attached Meetings

Wildfire in the Northeast Workshop 
An Instructional, Practical and Pragmatic Approach to Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation
December 6-8, 2016 Mystic, CT

77th Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference
February 5 - 8, 2017 Lincoln, Nebraska

Wildland fire sessions at 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo
Boston June 4-7, 2017

Fire Vision 20/20: A 20 Year Reflection and Look into the Future
7th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress held concurrently with the 
2nd Applied Fire Science Workshop 
Hosted by the Association for Fire Ecology in cooperation with the Southern Fire Exchange
November 28-December 2, 2017 Orlando, Florida

Want to submit an article, post an event or training, or contribute a success story?

Does your agency, organization, or community have a wildland fire science project, event, training, or story you would like to see featured in the Lake States Fire Science Consortium Newsletter? 
Please send submissions to Jack McGowan-Stinski.
Copyright © 2016 Lake States Fire Science Consortium, All rights reserved.
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