May 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue

Era of Megafires - Montana Tour

The multi-media Era of Megafires presentations with Dr. Paul Hessburg have stimulated conversations among resource managers, wildland fire fighters, community planners, and the public in western Montana and northern Idaho.

Local news outlets covered the Era of Megafires presentations, where Hessburg discussed contributors to megafires, management tools, and homeowner responsibility. Read more from Montana Public Radio and the Seeley Swan Pathfinder.

Additional presentations planned in the Northern Rockies region include: McCall May 15, Boise May 16, Twin Fall May 17, Pocatello May 18, and Jackson Hole June 26.

Save the Date - Fuel Treatment Effects Field Tour

September 7th the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network will host fire, forestry, and entomology experts at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest.

The field tour will visit Fire-Fire Surrogate Study Sites, which are one of 13 national study sites used to evaluate the effects of thinning and burning treatments on vegetation, fuels, wildfire potential and behavior, and ecosystem structure and processes in frequently burned, fire-adapted forests.

Participants will visit each of the four treatments (prescribed fire only, thinning only, thinning and prescribed fire, and untreated control) to discuss 15-year post-treatment effects.

More details coming soon, check the event page for updates.

A Century of Wildland Fire Research

On March 27th the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted an online workshop that explored:
  • the history of wildland fire research in the United States,
  • the priorities for future research and state of the science, and
  • the translation of scientific research to better management practices in the field.
Workshop presentations and panelist discussions included Stephen Pyne, Jennifer Balch, Meg Krawchuk, Mark Finney, Craig D. Allen, Scott Stephens, Toddi Steelman, Travis Paveglio, J. Kevin Hiers, and Patty Champ.

Presentations and panelist discussion recordings can be accessed here.

2017 Fire Outlook for the Northern Rockies


Based on recent conditions, past fire weather, and 2017 weather predictions, Michael Richmond, meteorologist with the Northern Rockies Coordination Center's Predictive Services Center, offers this 2017 fire season outlook.

For the first time in many years, the entire region is drought free and some areas are the wettest ever. This means region-wide green up and generally good vegetative growth through early summer.

Predictions are for an average-type fire season in the Northern Rockies, with less than 250,000 acres burning, and below-normal fire potential in Yellowstone National Park and the Absaroka/Beartooth mountains. However it is possible the Northern Rockies will enter a weak El Nino by fall, with warm dry conditions persisting in September and October and lengthening the fire season slightly, especially east of the Continental Divide.

Read the complete 2017 Northern Rockies Fire Season Outlook report.

Meet the Montana Forest Collaborative Network


The Montana Forest Collaboration Network is a consensus-based collaborative group formed in August 2016 to assist collaborative groups across the state in forest and grassland restoration, conservation, and resource utilization for the benefit of all.

The Network is guided by the following principles:

  • Collaboration can advance the realization of public interests across the full range of land ownerships and natural resource settings.
  • Collaboration across Montana should operate independently based on community interests and locally driven issues.
  • Collaborative groups are autonomous and their diversity should be celebrated.
  • Successful collaboration promotes meaningful, respectful, civic dialogue as well and transparency and inclusion.
For more information, visit the MFCN website.

FireSafe Montana Launches New Website


A partner in hosting the Era of Megafires tour, FireSafe Montana actively encourages and assists in the development of local FireSafe councils across the state. Through their public information programs and materials, new website, newsletter, special events, and active involvement in federal, state, and local fire mitigation, FireSafe Montana provides awareness, motivation, expertise, and resources to help Montana communities live with wildland fire.

Learn more at the new FireSafe Montana website.

National Legacy Award to Dr. Jack Cohen

The first National Legacy Award established to recognize outstanding career-long contributions to wildfire mitigation as an alternative to suppression was awarded to Dr. Jack Cohen. This award was presented by the Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) at the IAFC's 2017 Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Conference in Reno, NV.

NRFSN Coordinator Moving On

For the past three years, the activities and products brought to you by the NRFSN would not have been possible without the efforts of the NRFSN Coordinator, Corey Gucker. Corey is beginning work on a new project, which will gather and synthesize information about native Great Basin forbs to be used for restoration.

Do you or someone you know have a background in fire or disturbance ecology and want to help coordinate fire and fuels science communication in the Northern Rockies, if so, send a resume and statement of interest to Vita Wright.

May 9
Making National Spatial Data Work on Your NW Landscape

May 30
Restoring Wildfire to the Sierra Nevada: Impacts on Water Resources and Drought Response

June 1
WUI Webinar - Going Firewise and Beyond the USAA Journey

June 15
The 2016 Gatlinburg Fire: Tactics, Issues, and Lessons Learned
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars

May 11-12, and 19
Forest Stewardship Planning Workshop
Great Falls, MT

May 15-18
Era of Megafires in Southern Idaho
McCall, Boise, Twin Falls, and Pocatello, ID

June 15-16
FireWorks Educator Workshop
Missoula, MT

June 15-16, and 23
Forest Stewardship Planning Workshop 
Libby, MT

June 23-25
30th Montana Native Plant Society Annual Meeting
Lambert, MT

June 26-29
41st Annual National Indian Timber Symposium
Yakima, WA

July 13-14, and 21
Forest Stewardship Planning Workshop
Columbia Falls, MT

Inside the firestorm - New technology allows scientists to see the forces behind the flames, from High Country News

Washington Senator, Cantwell, and Montana Senator, Daines, introduce legislation for wildland firefighters, from The Chronicle

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Fire Weather Cloud Charts now available 

Climate Change -
Impact of wildfires on some greenhouse gases over continental USA: a study based on satellite data

Forest health in a changing world: effects of globalization and climate change on forest insect and pathogen impacts

Fire and Bark Beetles -
Landscape-scale quantification of fire-induced change in canopy cover following mountain pine beetle outbreak and timber harvest

Fire Behavior / Prediction-
An uncertainty analysis of wildfire modeling

Spatially explicit measurements of forest structure and fire behavior following restoration treatments in dry forests

Fire Communication & Education -
Policy scenarios for fire-adapted communities: understanding stakeholder risk-perceptions with Fuzzy Cognitive Maps

Fire Effects -
Climate and seed availability initiate alternate post-fire trajectories in a lower subalpine forest

Does the presence of large down wood at the time of a forest fire impact soil recovery?

Effects of wildfire on the value of recreation in western North America

Prescribed burning in ponderosa pine: fuel reductions and redistributing fuels near boles to prevent injury

Tree regeneration, understory development, and biomass dynamics following wildfire in a mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) forest

Fire History -
Fire-proneness as a prerequisite for the evolution of fire-adapted traits

Flammability as an ecological and evolutionary driver

The normal fire environment - Modeling environmental suitability for large forest wildfires using past, present, and future climate normals

Fire Management / Decision Support -
Diversity in forest management to reduce wildfire losses

Science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome: Linking the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy to long-term strategic conservation actions

Using an agent-based model to examine forest management outcomes in a fire-prone landscape in Oregon, USA

Fire and People -
Human exposure and sensitivity to globally extreme wildfire events

Re-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance

What information do people use, trust, and find useful during a disaster? Evidence from five large wildfires

Fire and Traditional Knowledge 
Participatory geographic information systems as an organizational platform for the integration of traditional and scientific knowledge in contemporary fire and fuels management

Returning fire to the land - Celebrating traditional knowledge and fire

Fire Regimes - 
Quantifying the effect of elevation and aspect on fire return intervals in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Fire Severity -
Climatic influences on interannual variability in regional burn severity across western US forests

Fuels -
Aging masticated fuels - How do they change over time?

Bayesian techniques for surface fuel loading estimation

Estimating ladder fuels: a new approach combining field photography with LiDAR

Mapping tree canopy cover in support of proactive prairie grouse conservation in western North America

Smoke & Air Quality -
Aligning smoke management with ecological and public health goals

Effectiveness of public health messaging and communication channels during smoke events: a rapid systematic review

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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