March 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue

Additional Events and Resources (Right Column)

Post-Fire Tree Regeneration Products

Photo cover of science review showing a grassy slope with fallen dead treesPost-fire vegetation recovery is a growing field of concern as larger wildfires impact more of the landscape. In forested ecosystems, a primary topic of vegetation recovery is tree regeneration. Numerous researchers have examined where natural tree regeneration is prolific and where there is little or no tree regeneration, as well as the causes of these observed patterns. Understanding the patterns of natural tree regeneration can have large impacts on how and where managers prioritize post-fire management actions. NRFSN has two new products available addressing this important topic. Download a science review, Post-fire Tree Regeneration (or Lack Thereof) Can Change Ecosystems, by Camille Stevens-Rumann and co-authors, to learn more about this issue in the Northern Rockies. Visit our Post-fire Tree Regeneration Hot Topics web page to find webinars, events, websites, and publications related to this topic. 

New Traditional Knowledge & Fire Newsletter

We are excited to announce that the first issue of our new newsletter -  Traditional Knowledge and Fire - will soon be available!  The primary goal of this bi-annual newsletter is to provide an avenue for those interested in the topic of TK and Fire to find and share upcoming news, events, management tools and applications, research, and more related to TK and fire and fuels management in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. This newsletter will be an avenue to share and educate others about the important role that fire has had and continues to play in our diverse tribal cultures and communities and highlight the innovative projects and research being accomplished by and in partnership with tribal communities to help restore our human-adapted ecosystems.
To subscribe to the Traditional Knowledge and Fire Newsletter, visit our registration page. Please feel free to submit any articles or shout-outs related to TK and Fire to editor Monique Wynecoop and we will make sure and include them in the upcoming newsletter.

Crown of the Continent Fire Forum

Tuesday - Thursday, March 10-12, 2020 | Cranbrook, BC, Canada
photo of yellow glacier lilies under burned treesThe Northern Rockies Fire Science Network has partnered with the Crown Managers Partnership to organize the Fire in the Crown of the Continent Forum: Trans-boundary Collaborative Solutions to Landscape Scale Ecosystem Management. The Crown Managers Partnership is a multi-jurisdictional partnership among federal, state, provincial, tribal, and first nation agency managers and universities in Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia. Annual forums facilitate networking opportunities, build collaboration, and deepen understanding of common issues in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. Visit this web page to learn more and register.

Themes for this year's forum include:  
  • Fire Past and Future: Fact, Fiction and Uncertainty
  • Active Use of Fire: First Nations TEK and How Fire is Used as a Tool
  • Fire in the Human Environment
  • Fire in Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems

H5II - Conference on High Elevation Five Needle Pines

Tuesday - Thursday, September 15-17, 2020 | Missoula, Montana

Scientists, management professionals and outdoor enthusiasts interested in learning about the new techniques, research results, and new information in high elevation five needle pine ecosystems are invited to H5II – The Second Conference on the Research and Management of High Elevation Five Needle Pines in Western North America from September 15-17, 2020.  Register or submit an abstract at of whitebark pines

Topics will cover the full range of the existing knowledge regarding the restoration management of ‘High-5’ species important to both US and Canada, including ecology, genetics, disturbance dynamics (beetle and fire), blister rust, rust resistance, restoration actions, planting, and climate change. Special sessions from the US National Whitebark Pine Restoration Plan (NWPRP) will be featured.

Idaho Prescribed Fire Council in Development

Idaho Rx Council logoA Prescribed Fire Council (PFC) is being initiated in Idaho with the following goals: 1) Promote the safe and effective use of prescribed fire for healthy forests and rangelands, wildlife, and fire resilient communities across Idaho; 2) Connect prescribed fire practitioners so they can share knowledge and resources; 3) Inform Idaho residents about prescribed fire use and benefits; and 4) Increase support and capacity for using fire as a management tool. 

An initial meeting occurred on March 3rd in Moscow, and another meeting will occur in Twin Falls on March 5th.  Visit the council website at for more information. 

Story Map Features Interagency Monitoring Application

Logo for FFI and photo of scorched tree trunks

A new story map provides an overview of the ecological monitoring application FEAT-FIREMON Integrated (FFI) developed by the US Forest Service and the National Park Service. The story map takes viewers through a series of field photographs, short text descriptions, and graphics to highlight the history, utility, range of users, and planned future direction of this application. Explore this story map to learn more about the FFI application, designed to assist managers with collection, storage, and analysis of ecological information. Duncan Lutes of the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and Audrey Peterson of S&K Global Solutions compiled the story map. To learn more about the application's ecological monitoring utilities, visit the FFI website. Be on the lookout for additional story maps on Fire Behavior, Fire Danger Rating, Fire Effects, Fuel Management, and Firefighter Safety in the near future.

LANDFIRE 2016 Remap Data Now in IFTDSS

LANDFIRE GeoAreasLANDFIRE 2016 Remap data are now available in the Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS). The Northwest, North Central, and South Central GeoAreas are available for use. As new GeoAreas are made available in LANDFIRE, they will be added to IFTDSS. Learn more about what to expect and documentation on LANDFIRE Remap data: The Northeast, Southeast, and Alaska will be available later in 2020.

View the Online Help in IFTDSS for more detailed information regarding some limitations with the 2016 LANDFIRE Remap Data. Check out the latest recorded IFTDSS webinars.

Northern Rockies 2019 Wildfire Season Summary

The 2019 Northern Rockies Geographical Area (NRGA) fire season will be remembered as a quiet one. There were about 25 percent fewer fires recorded (2140) than the 10-year mean value (2833). Most of these did not become large, and as Figure 1 shows, those that did were clustered mainly from the Rocky Mountain Front west into North Idaho. A small cluster also occurred further east around the Missouri River Breaks south to just west of Miles City, Montana. The 72,306 acre seasonal total was well-below the 1994-2019 mean and median values of 427,030, and 200,382 acres, respectively. 2019 was the only fire season in the 2000-2019 period where Preparedness Level 3 (PL 3) was not reached in the NRGA.

Map showing 2019 fire distribution in Montana and Idaho
Figure 1. Map displays all 2019 fires that are >100 acres in timber or > 300 acres in grass or shrub lands, by land management agency.

A perfect storm of weather features came together to produce this quiet season. In the bigger picture, fire season temperatures (July-August-September) were near-average across the NRGA, while only North Idaho and Southwest Montana were drier than average, but even in these areas, values were 70-90 percent of average. Meanwhile, in the eastern third of Montana, and over most of North Dakota, fire season precipitation values were 150-300 percent of average, which also occurred for the 2019 water-year. For more specifics about the factors defining the 2019 fire season, download a summary at this link.

--Coleen Haskell and Michael Richmond, Predictive Services, Northern Rockies Coordination Center


March 4
12 - 1 pm MST
Building a prescribed fire program on the Colorado Front Range: The role of landowner Engagement

March 5
Idaho Prescribed Fire Council Workshop
Twin Falls, Idaho

March 10-12
Fire in the Crown of the Continent Forum
Cranbrook, BC, Canada

March 11-12
Protecting your City from Wildfire: Planning, Coordinating, and Investing for Civic Resilience
San Diego, CA

March 17-19
Great Basin Consortium Conference 2020
Boise, Idaho

March 18-20
5th Central Oregon Fire Symposium
Bend, Oregon

March 21-26
Wildland Urban Interface Conference
Reno, Nevada

March 30 - April 10
Wakefield, Virginia

April 6-8
After the Flames Conference
Tahoe City, California

April 15-16
Evolving Forest Collaboration: Expanding Shared Stewardship of Idaho's Forests 
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

FlamMap 6.0

Better stories, bigger impact: How scientists can engage effectively with the media to share their science

The Return of Fire

Wildfire in the News
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars  

Post-fire Tree Regeneration

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Ecosystem Changes-
Post-fire carbon dynamics in subalpine forests of the Rocky Mountains

Fire and Climate-
Can wildland fire management alter 21st-century subalpine fire and forests in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA?

Wildfire refugia in forests: severe fire weather and drought mute the influence of topography and fuel age

A Double Whammy: Climate Change and Stand-Replacing Wildfires (research brief)

Fire and Wildlife-
Patterns of bird species occurrence in relation to anthropogenic and wildfire disturbance: management implications

Fire Ecology-
A review of the applications of remote sensing in fire ecology
Fire as a key driver of Earth's biodiversity

Fire Economics- 
To insure or not to insure? Factors affecting acquisition of prescribed burning insurance coverage

The role of previous fires in the management and expenditures of subsequent large wildfires

Fire Effects-
Fire severity and changing composition of forest understory plant communities
Sources of inherent infiltration variability in post-wildfire soils
Nesting success of wood-cavity-nesting bees declines with increasing time since wildfire

Characterizing fire effects on conifers at tree level from airborne laser scanning and high-resolution, multispectral satellite data
Partitioned by process: Measuring post‐fire debris‐flow and rill erosion with structure from motion photogrammetry

Fire Regimes-
Invasive grasses increase fire occurrence and frequency across US ecoregions

Firefighter Health and Safety-
Noise exposures and perceptions of hearing conservation programs among wildland firefighters

Fire Management / Decision Support-
Collaborations and capacities to transform fire management

Fuel Treatment-
Drying rates of saturated masticated fuelbeds from Rocky Mountain mixed-conifer stands

How much forest persists through fire? High-resolution mapping of tree cover to characterize the abundance and spatial pattern of fire refugia across mosaics of burn severity

Human Dimensions of Fire Management-
Emotional and social intelligence competencies in incident command

Operational Effectiveness-
Emergency logistics for wildfire suppression based on forecasted disaster evolution

Fire Severity-
Giving ecological meaning to satellite-derived fire severity metrics across North American forests

Post-fire Management-
Post-fire soil erosion mitigation at the scale of swales using forest logging residues at a reduced application rate
Post-Fire management impact on natural forest regeneration through altered microsite conditions

Post-fire tree regeneration and fuels across the Northern Rockies following large wildfires: science meta-analyses, scenarios and manager workshops: Final Report to Joint Fire Science

Post-fire Recovery-
Is that tree dead?  Quantifying fire-killed trees to inform salvage and forest management

Recovery after Fire-
Potential for post-fire recovery of Greater Sage-grouse habitat
Post-fire tree regeneration (or lack thereof) can change ecosystems

What drives ponderosa pine regeneration following wildfire in the western United States?

Climate, environment, and disturbance history govern resilience of western North American forests

Risk Management-
Modeling ground firefighting resource activities to manage risk given uncertain weather

Smoke and Air Quality-
A statistical model for predicting PM2.5 for the western United States
Black carbon in the Lower Fraser Valley, British Columbia: impact of 2017 wildfires on local air quality and aerosol optical properties

Smoke Emissions-
Fixing a snag in carbon emissions estimates from wildfires

Accessing the life in smoke: a new application of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to sample wildland fire bioaerosol emissions and their environment

Our parents told us not to play with fire. Thankfully these scientists didn't listen. - Popular Mechanics

Montana firefighter reflects on fighting Australia bush fires - ABC Fox Montana

How tribal members are shaping the federal government's wildfire strategy - The Takeaway, WNYC Studios

Fires worsen as they generate their own weather - ABC Radio National

Wildfire smoke, once considered sterile, teems with life - KQED

Can scientists predict fire tornados? - Scientific American

Western Cohesive Strategy Wildland Fire Management Strategy, December 2019

Northwest Fire Science Consortium, February 2020

Southwest Fire Science Consortium Winter 2020

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

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

Signe Leirfallom, Coordinator  |  406.546.4467
University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

Linda Mutch, Science Communication Specialist  |  559.565.3174
National Park Service, Three Rivers, California

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