November 2015 Newsletter

In This Issue


Yellowstone Fire Ecology Field Tour

If you missed our Yellowstone Fire History and Fire Ecology Field Tour (Oct 1-2), you can still learn about the Yellowstone region and:
  • Fire regime differences across forest and fuel types
  • Ecological recovery following fire
  • Factors influencing different post-fire trajectories
  • Projections for future fire activity
  • Possible ecological consequences related to future fire predictions
  • Sensitivity and complacency of fire regimes in response to climate
Experience and learn even more by visiting our past event webpage.

Smoke Management and Air Quality Project 


The 2011 Joint Fire Science Program's (JFSP) Smoke Science Plan funded smoke research based on a needs assessment, round-table discussions, and web-based questionnaires where managers and scientists developed lists of research priorities.

The plan focused on four research themes: Smoke emissions inventory research; Fire and smoke model validation; Smoke and populations; and Climate change and smoke.

The five-year Smoke Science Plan has now concluded and many of the funded research projects are beginning to share results and findings. Some initial project results that are relevant to the Northern Rockies are presented below -

Interactive Tribal Connections Map

Tribal Connections, a new interactive online mapping tool, was recently released by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The map shows overlap between USFS-administered lands, current tribal trust lands, and tribal lands exchanged with the federal government prior to 1900. The mapping tool illustrates where historical treaties influence current land management planning and decision making.

Tribal Connections compiles information from Smithsonian Institute maps and displays them in a single presentation. It includes geographic descriptions published in 1899 by Smithsonian ethnographer, Charles C. Royce.

The map contains multiple layers: forests and grasslands managed by the USFS, tribally owned lands, and historical data on lands ceded by treaties. Tribal Connections identifies nearly 4,000 miles of shared tribal and USFS boundaries. Current and historical details are available by clicking on locations of interest.

This online resource is designed to improve the efficiency of agency-tribal coordination, collaboration, and consultation. However, it is not legally binding or a source for legal descriptions.

For more information, visit the Tribal Connections news release.

LANDFIRE  Reviewing Biophysical Settings

LANDFIRE produced and delivered state-and-transition models for ecosystems (Biophysical Settings, or BpS) mapped by the program over more than a decade. The models and descriptions offer information about vegetation dynamics, structure, and composition on lands across the U.S. prior to Euro-American settlement. These models and descriptions are used across the nation in a large array of applications and landscapes.

LANDFIRE is now reviewing BpS models and descriptions, which marks the first complete update since they were originally developed. LANDFIRE is committed to a collaborative process, making the knowledge and experience of experts in fields of vegetation and fire ecology critical. To that end, LANDFIRE is requesting contributions to this important project - a crowdsourcing endeavor with important ecological impacts.

Reviewing the BpS entails reading and commenting on a 4-to-10 page document at your convenience and in your office. The dedicated BpS Review website contains all the information needed to complete the review and to provide comments to The Nature Conservancy’s LANDFIRE team.

Help LANDFIRE update and improve this important encyclopedia of scientific knowledge. Please visit the BpS Review website, share what you know, and pass this request to others who can provide their expertise as well.

At A Glance - The GYCC


The Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) was formed to enable representatives from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management to pursue opportunities of mutual cooperation and coordination on core federal lands in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem (GYE). The GYE is 22 million acres, with almost 15 million acres managed by the four federal agencies. Over 6 million of the federally managed acres are designated wilderness or managed as recommended wilderness.

The 11 unit managers of the GYCC set priorities for ecosystem coordination and assign resources, including people and funds, to advance those priorities. Interagency subcommittees communicate, coordinate, and collaborate on priority topics such as wildlife, native fish, whitebark pine, fire management, hydrology, air quality, sustainable operations, climate change adaptation, and invasive species. The subcommittees consist of federal, state, and county agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizens who all work together on important on-the-ground projects across the GYE.

For more about the GYCC and its role in the GYE, visit the GYCC website and/or sign up for their newsletter.

December 3
Establishing a National Methodology for Mixing Height Determination

December 9
Science Delivery - Approaches and Influences on Success

Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for Northern Rockies-relevant webinar recordings

December 2-3
Adaptation and Mitigation for Working Forestlands: Challenges and Solutions in the Face of Climate Change
Corvallis, OR

December 8-10
2015 Forest Inventory and Analysis Science Symposium
Portland, OR

February 23-26
Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation: All Lands, All Hands
Salt Lake City, UT

March 8-10
2016 Wildland Urban Interface Conference
Reno, NV

April 11-15
5th International Fire Behavior & Fuels Conference - Wicked Problem, New Solutions: Our Fire, Our Problem
Portland, OR

September 16-18
2016 Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Science and Management Conference
Whitefish, MT

Fire Behavior -
Evaluating crown fire rate of spread predictions from physics-based models

Fire Danger -
Predicting wildfire ignitions, escapes, and large fire activity using Predictive Service’s 7-Day Fire Potential Outlook in the western USA

Fire Effects -
The effects of seed source health on whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) regeneration density after wildfire

Vegetation, topography and daily weather influenced burn severity in central Idaho and western Montana forests

Fire and Climate -
Regional likelihood of very large wildfires over the 21st century across the western United States: motivation to study individual events like the Rim Fire, a unique opportunity with unprecedented remote sensing data

Representing climate, disturbance, and vegetation interactions in landscape models

Fire and Insect Outbreaks -
Fire severity unaffected by spruce beetle outbreak in spruce-fir forests in southwestern Colorado

Management for mountain pine beetle outbreak suppression: does relevant science support current policy?

Tree mortality from drought, insects, and their interactions in a changing climate

Western spruce budworm outbreaks did not increase fire risk over the last three centuries: a dendrochronological analysis of inter-disturbance synergism

Fire and People -
Adapting to wildfire: rebuilding after home loss

Community Mitigation Assistance Team: National pilot highlights

'Put the wet stuff on the hot stuff': the legacy and drivers of conflict surrounding wildfire suppression

Fire Risk and Uncertainty -
First approximations of prescribed fire risks relative to other management techniques used on private lands

Fuels -
Automated integration of lidar into the LANDFIRE product suite

Forest disturbance across the conterminous United States from 1985-2012: the emerging dominance of forest decline

Fuel and vegetation trends after wildfire in treated versus untreated forests

Landsat time series and lidar as predictors of live and dead basal area across five bark beetle-affected forests

Long-term effects on distribution of forest biomass following different harvesting levels in the Northern Rocky Mountains

Structure-level fuel load assessment in the wildland-urban interface: a fusion of airborne laser scanning and spectral remote-sensing methodologies

Wildland fire limits subsequent fire occurrence

Management / Monitoring -
A chance-constrained programming model to allocate wildfire initial attack resources for a fire season

A mixed integer program to model spatial wildfire behavior and suppression placement decisions

Keeping it wild 2: an updated interagency strategy to monitor trends in wilderness character across the National Wilderness Preservation System

Measurements, datasets and preliminary results from the RxCADRE project - 2008, 2011 and 2012

October 2015 National Incident Management System: Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide PMS 310-1

Satellite versus ground-based estimates of burned area: a comparison between MODIS based burned area and fire agency reports over North America in 2007

Restoration -
Increasing weight of evidence that thinning and burning treatments help restore understory plant communities in ponderosa pine forests

Smoke and Air Quality -
Determination of the smoke-plume heights and their dynamics with ground-based scanning lidar

Wildfire smoke and public health risk

Wildland Urban Interface -
The 2010 wildland-urban interface of the conterminous United States

Between Two Fires by Stephen Pyne

The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature's Phoenix by Dominick A DellaSala and Chad T. Hanson

Proceedings of the Large Wildland Fires Conference; May 19-23, 2014, Missoula, MT

CONTACT US -- We'd like to hear your suggestions, ideas, and questions.

Vita Wright, Principal Investigator               |  406.396.5374                   
US Forest Service, Kalispell, Montana

Corey Gucker, Coordinator  |  208.373.4342 
US Forest Service, Boise, Idaho

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