March 2015 Newsletter

In This Issue


FFI Interagency Monitoring Tool Updated

The FFI (FEAT/FIREMON Integrated) interagency, plot-level monitoring tool to assist managers with collection, storage, and analysis of ecological information was recently updated.
Photo courtesy of Steve Sutherland, USFS.

Changes include - 
  • Updated master species list that matches 2014 NRCS-PLANTS database
  • New Administrative Unit species replace tool
  • New macroplot report
  • Modified standard reports to better accommodate three-part forms
  • Updated functionality for custom tree reports
  • New plot photo protocol
  • Updated GIS toolbar for Arc 10.2
  • Improved FuelCalc and FOFEM export functionality
FFI software components provide for: data entry and storage, summary reports, analysis tools, GIS connection, and personal digital assistant use or field tablet data collection (with FFI-Lite). FFI can help managers fulfill monitoring mandates set forth in land management policy and encourage cooperative, interagency data management and information sharing.

For more information and to download FFI and FFI-Lite version 1.05.03, user guides, and other supplemental documents, visit the FFI-FRAMES website.

Smoke Can Influence Tornado Severity

Smoke from fires can influence tornado intensity, according to a study conducted by the University of Iowa.

The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, examined smoke impacts on a historic severe weather outbreak on April 27, 2011. The weather event produced 122 tornadoes and resulted in 313 deaths across the southeastern United States.

Environmental conditions lead to the high potential for tornado formation, but smoke lowered the base of clouds and increased wind shear (wind speed variations with respect to altitude), which increased the likelihood of more severe tornadoes.

The satellite image above (courtesy of Brad Pierce, NOAA) shows tornado tracks coming for the southeastern US on April 27, 2011. Tornado tracks are the red lines, the thickest of which indicate a magnitude 5 tornado. The yellow markers are fires, and in the overlay, particulate matter in the air is highest in the red zones and lowest in the purple.
Read the article

Wildfire Risk and Fuel Treatment Analysis Workshop

The Wildfire Risk and Fuel Treatment Analysis Workshop on Jan 27-29 in Missoula, MT, offered an opportunity for federal agencies to build capacity in conducting wildfire risk assessments using the best tools and science available to inform fire and fuels management decisions.

The workshop introduced risk framework concepts, steps, and recent applications from project to national scales to help forests and regional staff support local wildfire risk assessments.

The workshop was organized by USDA FS Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management (WO-FAM) Fuels and Fire Ecology group, with support from Rocky Mountain Research Station, Pyrologix LLC, USDA Pacific Northwest Research Station Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC), TEAMS enterprise unit, and FS Regions 1 and 5.

There were 38 workshop participants, and another 50+ people participated via a workshop simulcast.

Learn much more by visiting the workshop website

Human Dimensions in Safety and Wildland Fire

The 13th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit and 4th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference - Managing Fire, Understanding Ourselves: Human Dimensions in Safety and Wildland Fire will be April 20-24 in Boise, ID. 

This joint conference is focused on bringing past experience, current science, and new ideas together in an effort to tackle future challenges. More than 300 participants from emergency services, state, federal, and local governments, industry, NGOs, and research and education are expected to attend.  
The NRSFN will be there. Stop by and visit with us in the exhibitor's hall.

For more information, visit the conference website

FireWorks Educational Trunk - Master Class 

The annual free "master class" on teaching with the FireWorks educational trunk will be June 18-19 at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. 

The class -
  • consists of two days of intense, entertaining, hands-on activities for teaching students about wildland fire behavior, ecology, management, and activities related to traditional fire use
  • focuses on ecosystems in the Northern Rocky Mountains and North Cascade range
  • reflects recent advances in fire research
  • contains activities for every age group, K-12 and adult education
The FireWorks program is a valuable resource for teachers (OPI and University of Montana credit available), youth leaders, agency educators, communication specialists, and outdoor educators. FireWorks trunks contain a wide variety of materials including laboratory equipment, specimens, CDs, books, and kits of specialized materials for teachers. Trunks are currently available for loan in eight states: AK, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, and WY.

For more information, visit the FireWorks website.
To register for the class, email Ilana Abrahamson.

March 31
Diggin' Dirt: Fuel Reduction Practices and Their Effects

April 8
Transfer 2.0 and Species Selection, the Art and Science in a Changing Climate

April 14
A New Age of Wildland Fuel Science

April 16
Easy-To-Use Smoke Tools

April 30
Vortices and Wildland Fire

May 7
Crown Fire Behavior in Conifer Forests

May 13
Risk Management in a Changing Climate - From Community Involvement to Operations

March 31-April 28
Introduction to Remote Sensing for Wildfire Applications - Online

Summer 2015-Spring 2016
Training for Natural Resource Professionals - Six intermittent in-person sessions, applications due April 15

March 29-April 2
2015 George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites 
Oakland, CA

April 20-24
13th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit / 4th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference
Boise, ID

May 5-7
11th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology
Minneapolis, MN

May 20-22
2015 Open Science Conference
Fort Collins, CO

June 13-18
21st International Symposium on Society and Resource Management
Charleston, SC

October 22-24
2015 Backyards and Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference
Myrtle Beach, SC

November 3-7
Society of American Foresters 2015 National Convention
Baton Rouge, LA

November 16-20
6th International Fire Ecology & Management Congress - Advancing Fire Ecology in Fire Management, first proposal deadline is April 1
San Antonio, TX 

FY 2014 Fire Prevention and Safety Grants, proposals due April 17

Climate & Fire - 
Different fire–climate relationships on forested and non-forested landscapes in the Sierra Nevada ecoregion

Fire on Fire Interactions -
Wildland fire as a self-regulating mechanism: the role of previous burns and weather in limiting fire progression

Fire Ignitions -
Location, timing and extent of wildfire vary by cause of ignition

Fire and People -
It's not a ‘thing’ but a ‘place’: reconceptualising ‘assets’ in the context of fire risk landscapes

Rebuilding and new housing development after wildfire

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

Forest Restoration -
A new approach to evaluate forest structure restoration needs across Oregon and Washington, USA

Greater Sage-Grouse -
Initial report: a strategic plan for addressing rangeland fire prevention, management, and restoration in 2015

Human Factors -
The relationship between mindfulness and self-compassion to desired wildland fire leadership

Management / Planning -
Fiscal year 2014 wildland fire management report

National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy - Regional transition plan 2014-2015 

Final Planning Directives for implementation of the 2012 Forest Service Planing Rule

FS Chief's Letter of Intent - 2015 Fire Management

FS Chief's 2015 Risk Management Protocols, draft

Fire Effects -
Resilience and regeneration after wildfire in dry mixed-conifer forests of the US Northern Rockies, NRFSN recording

Fire on Fire Interactions -
Wildfire as a fuel treatment, NRFSN-SWFSC recording

Smoke -
Public perceptions and tolerance of smoke from wildland fires, many webinars and papers available from FRAMES portal

1910 Fire Commemoration Information Site

Greater sage-grouse - US Fish and Wildlife Service website - information about ongoing, collaborative work to conserve the sagebrush landscape 

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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