September 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue

Effects of Past Fires on Fire Behavior

The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network (NRFSN) is excited to release its first science review. Based on manager input and a review of the science, authors Camille Steven-Rumann, Susan Prichard, and Penny Morgan summarize current knowledge on the effect of previous wildfires on subsequent wildfire behavior and recovery.

Current studies indicate that previous wildfires have the potential to decrease the burn severity of subsequent fires, decrease the amount of reburned area, and/or be useful as part of a wildfire management strategy, especially when: 
  • Fires occur in dry to mesic forested cover types
  • Subsequent fires are occurring within 20 years of previous fires
  • Subsequent fires occur during moderate fire weather conditions
Read the review

Crown Fire Behavior in Coniferous Forests

The August 2014 Special Issue of Fire Management Today presents a synthesis of crown fire behavior in coniferous forests. The issue is intended to increase awareness and understanding of fire regimes and their relation to crown fires as a way to improve the management of extreme fire behavior.  

Topics and issues covered in the special issue include: 
  • Descriptions of the general nature of crown fires
  • Canopy fuel characteristics of coniferous forests
  • Crown fire starts, propagations, and spread
  • Energy release, flame dimensions, and spotting characteristics of crown fires
  • Operational prediction of crown fire behavior
  • Crown fire behavior on wildland fires
  • Application and understanding of crown fire behavior
Read this issue

MTBS Announces Data Updates

Monitoring trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is a multi-year project designed to consistently map burn severity and fire perimeters of fires across the United States from 1984 and beyond. Data are used to help identify national trends in burn severity and provide information to help monitor the effectiveness of the National Fire Plan and Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

Updates coming in October include:
  • New file naming conventions for all fires - All fires from 1984 to 2010 will be re-released with new file names.
  • Burn severity data for 563 new fires - With this update, the total number of 1984 to 2013 fires mapped by MTBS will be 18,497. This update includes a portion of the 2013 fires and several past Texas fires. Fires of 2013 that are not part of this update will be released in spring 2015.
Read more about these updates and view notifications

Fire Effects Information System - At a Glance 

The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) is a national fire project housed in Missoula, MT that contains reviews of the scientific literature on fire regimes and on how fire affects plants and animals in the United States.

FEIS has new search capabilities that enable users to find FEIS literature reviews by location, life forms, plant community, nativity, invasiveness, and/or federal legal status. Because FEIS covers mostly common plant and animal species, a map-based search may identify hundreds of species reviews that apply to a given location.

FEIS is producing a new collection of literature reviews called Fire Regime Syntheses. These provide up-to-date information on fire regimes of US ecosystems based on the scientific literature and LANDFIRE Biophysical Settings models. Fire Regime Syntheses cover not only characteristics of historical fire regimes but also contemporary changes in fuels and fire regimes. Each Fire Regime Synthesis is linked to related FEIS Species Reviews. See the synthesis on Alaskan black spruce communities as an example.

A new FEIS user interface, to be completed in December 2014, will make fire regime information accessible for all 1,200 FEIS Species Reviews and for 2,500 LANDFIRE Biophysical Settings.

JFSP Funding Announcement for FY 2015

The Joint Fire Science Program has announced Funding Opportunity Notices and Graduate Research Innovation Awards for 2015.

Research topics being considered for funding -
  • Fuels mapping for emissions inventories
  • Smoke hazard warning system
  • Implications of changing fuels and fire regimes - selected regions
  • Fire ember production
  • Fire effects on soil heating
  • Fire weather and decision making: a social and modelling analysis
  • Re-measurement - long-term fire effects on vegetation and fuels
Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) Award topics being considered for funding -
  • Climate change and fire
  • Postfire recovery
  • Smoke or emissions assessments
  • Fire weather
  • Social issues and fire

Research proposals are due by November 21, 2014 at 5:00 MST. Read more and apply


Webinars -
October 1

Recreation and Ecosystem Services

Seminars - All seminars listed below will be presented at the Missoula Fire Lab.

October 16
An overview on forest fires in the Italian Alps

October 23
Satellite microwave detection of boreal forest recovery from the extreme 2004 wildfires in Alaska and Canada

October 30
SNOTEL Research

October 6-8
12th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

October 6-10
SER - Collaborative Restoration: From Community Efforts to Landscape Scales

October 7-9
Wildland Fire Canada Conference

October 15-19
National Wilderness Conference - Celebrating 50 Years of American Wilderness

October 16
PNW Reforestation Council 2014

October 21-22
Restoring the West Conference 2014 - Down by the River: Managing for Resilient Riparian Corridors

Climate and Fire - 
Climate and very large wildland fires in the contiguous western USA

Managing burned landscapes: evaluating future management strategies for resilient forests under a warming climate

Fire Effects -
Effect of fire on small mammals: a systematic review

Pyrogenic carbon: the influence of particle size and chemical composition on soil carbon release

Fire and People -
Social science research on Indigenous wildfire management in the 21st century and future research needs

Student wildland fire groups: common challenges and shared solutions

Fuels and Fire Behavior -
Modeling wildfire spread in mountain pine beetle-affected forest stands, British Columbia, Canada

High-resolution observations of combustion in heterogeneous surface fuels

Mathematical model and sensor development for measuring energy transfer from wildland fires

A comparison of three approaches for simulating fine-scale surface winds in support of wildland fire management. Part I. Model formulation and comparison against measurements

A comparison of three approaches for simulating fine-scale surface winds in support of wildland fire management. Part II. An exploratory study of the effect of simulated winds on fire growth simulations

Wildfire Trends -
A synthesis of post-fire Burned Area Reports from 1972 to 2009 for western US Forest Service lands: trends in wildfire characteristics and post-fire stabilisation treatments and expenditures

Fuels and Fire Behavior -
Improved canopy fuel estimation procedures for conifer forests in the Interior West

Archival of post-mountain pine beetle fuels and fire behavior data of south-central Oregon

Wildfire Management and Firefighter Safety -
A study of the impact of slope and wind on firefighter safety zone effectiveness

Advancing knowledge about citizen-agency trust in wildland fire management: a collaborative assessment framework for the U.S., Australia, and Canada

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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