July 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

Additional Events and Resources (Right Column)

Save the Date - Upcoming Events in ID and MT!

2018 Whitebark Pine Science & Management Conference
September 20-22, Stanley, Idaho

This year's WPEF annual conference will feature the theme "Central Idaho Whitebark Pine: High, Dry And Burned." The conference will include a day of presentations on current and developing research and management, followed by two days of field trips, and ample networking and discussion opportunities. The field trips include a visit to a restoration project on the Boise NF where two fires burned in 2016, as well as a trip to the 2012 Halstead Fire on the Salmon-Challis NF to discuss options for management in severely burned areas. Check the NRFSN event page for more information and registration updates. 

Long-Duration Fire and Re-Burn Effects in Yellowstone National Park Field Tour
October 16-17, West Yellowstone, Montana

Join fire managers to learn about long-duration wildland fire management in Yellowstone National Park. Visit with scientists about research to better understand burn severity estimation, tree regeneration, and factors influencing fire behavior in re-burns of the extensive 1988 fires. The lightning-caused Maple Fire was reported August 8, 2016 and it burned in the footprint of the 1988 North Fork Fire. The Maple Fire burned until late October and reached 51,555 acres. This field tour will include a moderate hike (2-4 miles) through a portion of the burn to visit research sites and discuss fire effects on vegetation and fuels. Check the NRFSN event page for more information and registration updates. 

InciWeb Public Website Redesign

The U.S. Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management Program and the USDA Enterprise Application Services has announced the launch of a new modernized, mobile-enabled InciWeb public website. This is the first major redesign for the website since it was developed. 

InciWeb, an interagency website, provides ‘one-stop shopping’ for incident information. InciWeb is a source for fire incident and contact information, news releases, closure information, photos, maps and videos for incidents that occur on federal, state, tribal and local jurisdictions. The redesigned website is the result of collaboration between local, state, tribal and federal agencies across the country. 

The new site features enhancements that include:
  • new color scheme and logo
  • an interactive map
  • a map locator feature for users to view incidents near their location 
  • mobile-enabled capability to format to smartphone, tablet or iPad devices
  • integrates and syncs with the InciWeb administrative site (back-end where users upload information – this site has not changed)
  • 508 compliant (meeting accessibility standards)
Watch a short video highlighting the new website.

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document and other InciWeb information is also available.

Community Mitigation Assistance Teams 

Community Mitigation Assistance Teams (CMAT) are call-when-needed strike teams of wildfire mitigation specialists who work with communities and national forests to build sustainable local capacity for wildfire mitigation during high-risk times before, during, and after a wildfire. These teams build mitigation partnerships, develop plans based on best practices, identify opportunities, and determine next steps to get risk reduction work done on the ground. Currently there is no cost to order a CMAT, if enabling conditions are met. See the new web page to learn more about what CMATs do, what local enabling conditions are to consider a team, and how a team is ordered.

Advanced Fire Environment Learning Unit

Becoming a skilled fire behavior or fire weather specialist requires specific courses as well as time spent learning from more experienced specialists in the field. The Advanced Fire Environment Learning Unit (AFELU) creates opportunities to share lessons learned, what works in the field, and tricks of the trade by connecting those in earlier stages of development as specialists to people with more experience.

The AFELU is a subcommittee of the Fire Environment Committee, one of numerous committees that helps the National Wildfire Coordinating Group accomplish its mission. The AFELU offers a supportive network that encourages people to pursue fire analyst specialties, and works with subcommittees such as Fire Behavior and Fire Danger to provide opportunities for continuing education and technology transfer to fire analysts and other specialists.

To access webinars and videos, visit:

Save the date for the “Fire Season 2018 Hot Topics” webinar: November 7, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. MST. The link to this webinar will be provided in our October newsletter.

Risk Management Assistance Teams 

Risk Management Assistance Teams (RMAT) strengthen a line officer’s and Incident Management Team’s ability to examine alternative strategies that consider the exposure tradeoffs, assess risk to highly valued resources and assets, and seek opportunities for realizing the beneficial effects of fire. In 2018, RMAT will use small teams led by an experienced line officer and supported by fire operations and risk management specialists. Analysts will support on-site and virtually. In 2017, RMAT tested their process on 15 wildland fires and came away with lessons learned to apply to this season. Teams will arrive early to fires to better engage with decision makers at key decision points.

For more information visit:

This article was excerpted with permission from the WFM RD&A Spring 2018 Newsletter. To access the entire newsletter, visit:

Communicating Fire Science with Art

As fire seasons in the Northern Rockies increase in length, size and scope, more and more citizens are directly or indirectly coming into contact with wildland fire. Consequently, fire scientists and managers are recognizing the importance of communicating fire science to the public to increase awareness and understanding of pre-, during- and post-wildfire management decisions. Art has emerged has a promising tool for facilitating public discussions about these topics.

Photographer Kari Greer's touring exhibit of images featuring wildland firefighters at work is one example of this: "Her work examines the heightened fire activity seen across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming." Greer's exhibit was displayed at the University of Idaho's Prichard Art Gallery, and at the Fire Continuum Conference in Missoula. 

An upcoming traveling art exhibition, Conversations Through the Smoke, aims to connect the creative voices of artists and fire practitioners from the Northern Rockies and beyond with those highly affected by recent fires. This exhibition will be accompanied by discussions about fire science and management through panel discussions of practitioners and community stakeholders, lectures, and community art-making.The exhibition will be on display at the following locations this fall:
The Joint Fire Science Program has also produced a publication on communicating about fire with art: Telling Fire's Story Through Narrative and Art

2018 Fire Continuum Conference


The 2018 Fire Continuum Conference was a resounding success, bringing together more than 600 attendees in Missoula, Montana for a week filled with abundant learning and networking opportunities. Over 400 workshops and presentations, along with several field trips and keynote presentations, covered  the range of the multi-faceted continuums that comprise the science and management of wildland fire.

Interim Forest Service Chief, Vicki Christiansen, kicked off the conference with her opening keynote presentation that touched upon the rising costs of wildland firefighting, firefighter safety, and inclusivity within the field. Recordings of this and other conference keynote presentations will be available soon on the NRFSN Youtube channel.  

The Conference Proceedings will also be made available on the Fire Continuum Conference website, so be sure to check back for a comprehensive collection of the research and ideas presented at this great event. 

Spring 2018 NRFSN Events


This spring was full of great opportunities to learn about and share fire science research in the Northern Rockies. There was something for everyone, from field tours of prescribed burns and a 17-year-old fire-fire surrogate study, to a workshop on long-term vegetation recovery and reburn potential. Learn more about the events below and visit the links for additional resources. 

Western Rx Fire Science Research Burn Field Tour
This tour integrated twenty-one attendees into the operational command structure of a 10-acre prescribed burn at the University of Montana's Lubrecht Experimental Forest. This was the first Western Rx Fire Science research burn conducted as an extension of the RxCADRE and Prescribed Fire Science Consortium (RxScience) experiments that have been conducted in the Southwest for the past decade. It was a collaborative effort between the Tall Timbers Research Station, University of Montana, Los Alamos National Lab, and the US Forest Service. View the field tour event page for more information. 

Fuel Treatment Effects in Ponderosa Pine and Mixed Conifer Forests Field Tour
This field tour visited one of the National Fire-Fire Surrogate Study Sites at the University of Montana’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest. This study, initiated in 1999, evaluates the effects of thinning and burning treatments in fire-adapted ponderosa pine-mixed conifer forests. Participants discussed short and mid-term treatment effects, including stand dynamics, fuel treatment longevity, potential fire behavior, bark beetle activity, and soil productivity. View the field tour event page for more information and additional resources.
Long-Term Vegetation Recovery and Reburn Potential Workshop
This workshop brought local area and regional managers and scientists together to share recent research findings and discuss their implications for vegetation and wildland fire management. The workshop was designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas between scientists and managers and to encourage collaboration on developing post-fire vegetation management and wildland fire management strategies. View the workshop event page for more information and additional resources.

July 10
Best practices for collaborative climate adaptation research between tribal and non-tribal partners

July 11
Developing a mid-scale portable wind tunnel for laboratory and field experiments

July 12, 19
Techniques for wildfire detection and monitoring: Two-part webinar series

July 18
Advances in wildland fire shelter development and testing

July 25
High resolution simulation of low-intensity and backing fires: a multi-scale model development exercise

August 8
Management-scale atmospheric modeling: Exploring fire-induced turbulent flows in forested environments

July 19-20, 2018
2018 Rangeland Monitoring Workshop
Hailey, Idaho

July 21-26, 2018
2018 North American Congress for Conservation Biology
Toronto, Ontario

September 11-14, 2018
Yellowstone Biennial Science Conference
Big Sky, Montana

September 17-21, 2018
2018 Mountain Climate Conference
Gothic, Colorado

September 18-20, 2018
2018 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference
Crested Butte, Colorado

September 20-22, 2018
2018 Whitebark Pine Science & Management Conference
Stanley, Idaho

September 24-27, 2018
National Association of State Foresters Annual Meeting
Whitefish, Montana

October 3-7, 2018
SAF National Convention
Portland, Oregon

October 15-18, 2018
Restoring Resilient Communities in Changing Landscapes
Spokane, Washington

October 16-17, 2018
Long-Duration Fire and Re-Burn Effects in Yellowstone
West Yellowstone, Montana

October 15-21, 2018
Fire Effects Monitoring and Technology Workshop
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Smoke Dispersion Modeling: A Brief Review and Example of Real-World Application

Spatial Tools for Wildfire Risk Assessment

Normal Accidents - Are Wildland Fire Accidents and Fatalities Unavoidable?

Introduction to the 2017 Prescribed Fire Complexity Rating System Guide and Worksheets

BehavePlus Updates and Changes

The US National Fire Danger Rating System: Past, Present and Future
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire and Climate-
The nature of the beast: examining climate adaptation options in forests with stand‐replacing fire regimes

Anticipating fire‐mediated impacts of climate change using a demographic framework

Data Descriptor: TerraClimate, a high-resolution global dataset of monthly climate and climatic water balance from 1958-2015

Transitioning western U.S. dry forests to limited committed warming with bet-hedging and natural disturbances

Fire and Disturbances-
Interactions between large high-severity fires and salvage logging on a short return interval reduce the regrowth of fire-prone serotinous forests

Conventional fire behavior modeling systems are inadequate for predicting fire behavior in bark beetle-impacted forests

Fire and People-
The wildfire within: Firefighter perspectives on gender and leadership in wildland fire

The role of trust in homeowner firewise actions

Where wildfires destroy buildings in the US relative to the wildland–urban interface and national fire outreach programs

Incorporating social diversity into wildfire management: proposing 'pathways' for fire adaptation

An integrative review of empirical research on perceptions and behaviors related to prescribed burning and wildfire in the United States

Fire Behavior / Prediction-
Human-related ignitions concurrent with high winds promote large wildfires across the USA

Effect of topography on persistent fire refugia of the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Flame-front rate of spread estimates for moderate scale experimental fires are strongly influenced by measurement approach

Deconstructing the King Megafire

Embracing complexity to advance the science of wildland fire behavior

Fire Effects-
From the stand‐scale to the landscape‐scale: predicting the spatial patterns of forest regeneration after disturbance

Fuel mass and stand structure 13  years after logging of a severely burned ponderosa pine forest in northeastern Oregon, U.S.A

Mean composite fire severity metrics computed with Google Earth engine offer improved accuracy and expanded mapping potential

Recent post-wildfire salvage logging benefits local and landscape floral and bee communities

Post-fire soil management

Fire Management / Decision Support-
Rethinking the wildland fire management system

Switching on the Big Burn of 2017

Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire Science Exchange Network: A national evaluation of initiative impacts

Survey design for precise fire management conservation targets

An attacker-defender model for analyzing the vulnerability of initial attack in wildfire suppression

Wildfire response performance measurement: current and future directions

Fire Regimes- 
Fire regimes approaching historic norms reduce wildfire-facilitated conversion from forest to non-forest

Modelling the management of forest ecosystems: Importance of wood decomposition

Does plant flammability differ between leaf and litter bed scale? Role of fuel characteristics and consequences for flammability assessment

Conceptualizing ecological flammability: An experimental test of three frameworks using various types and loads of surface fuels

Wildfire fuel management: network-based models and optimization of prescribed burning

Characterizing fire behavior from laboratory burns of multi-aged, mixed-conifer masticated fuels in the western United States

Collaborative restoration effects on forest structure in ponderosa pine-dominated forests of Colorado

Post-wildfire seeding to restore native vegetation and limit exotic annuals: an evaluation in juniper-dominated sagebrush steppe

Growth response of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm) regeneration to thinning and prescribed burn treatments

Smoke & Air Quality-
Air quality impacts from prescribed fire and wildfire: How do they compare?

Optimizing smoke and plume rise modeling approaches at local scales

Scientists aim to smoke out wildfire impacts

A review of community smoke exposure from wildfire compared to prescribed fire in the United States

What the West Can Learn From Florida About Wildfires, from Outside Online

'The New Normal': Wildfires Roar Across the West, Again, from NY Times

Does a Fire-Ravaged Forest Need Human Help to Recover?, from Yale Environment 360

Looking to History to Combat Wildfires, from Colorado Public Radio

Fire Continuum Conference Attracts International Experts, from The Missoulian

Fire, Oxygen, and Heat: Gender Diversity on the Fireline, from Mountain Outlaw

Fire Season Information, from Montana Public Radio

Plan Now For Wildfire Smoke, Air Quality Specialist Warns, from Montana Public Radio

Association for Fire Ecology

Western Region - Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy


Wildland Fire Management Research Development & Application

Southern Rockies Fire Science Network

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

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

Megan Keville, Co-Coordinator  |  406.781.2216 
University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

Linda Mutch, Co-Coordinator  |  559.565.3174
National Park Service, Three Rivers, California

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