September 2021 Newsletter

In This Issue

Additional Events and Resources (Right Column)

New Research Briefs - Resilience, Fuel Treatments

As fire season in the Northern Rockies winds down, we are excited to share two new research briefs.
The first, What makes a resilient landscape? Climate, fire, and forests in the Northern Rockies, summarizes results from a project led by Dr. Monica G. Turner (University of Wisconsin-Madison) that addressed questions related to warming climate and changing fire regimes, forest tipping points, how management activities might enhance or erode landscape resilience, and what geographical areas in the Northern Rockies region are most likely to be vulnerable or resilient to changing climate and fire regimes. The research brief (and associated publications) are related to a series of NRFSN workshops on resilience.

In Lick Creek: Lessons learned after 20+ years of fuel treatments in Ponderosa pine, authors Sharon Hood and Duncan Lutes (USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station), and Christopher Keyes and Anna Sala (University of Montana) describe results from a study that explores long-term (20+ years) fuel treatment effects on fuels, forest structure and composition, understory species responses, tree physiology, resistance to bark beetles, carbon storage, and fire hazard in the Lick Creek drainage of western Montana.  

Check here for more NRFSN research briefs and syntheses, with new releases on whitebark pine, post-fire regeneration and invasive plants coming soon!

--Historic photo from the Lick Creek Demonstration Site 

Joint Fire Science Program Updates

FY 2022 Funding Proposals Due

As a reminder, the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) requests proposals for the following Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA), due October 14, 2021.

Topics and more information on FY 2022 proposals can be found here.

FY 2021 Primary and GRIN Funding Recipients Announced

The JFSP approved 6 proposals as part of the Primary Funding Opportunity Announcement for 2021. The task statements that investigators and their teams will begin exploring this fall include: 
1) Sources and distribution of human-caused ignitions and their relation to wildfire impacts 
2) Reducing damages and losses to valued resources from wildfire

Read the full press release and see the list of funded proposals.

JFSP also awarded 12 Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) awards in partnership with the Association for Fire Ecology.
Read the press release and see the list of funded awards.

Congratulations to all of the investigators, teams and graduate students! We look forward to seeing your work and sharing your research.

Fire Season Resources

2021 has been a busy fire season in the Northern Rockies. While scattered precipitation events and mild temperatures helped dampen fire behavior in parts of the region, many areas are still seeing active fire and smoke. Below is a list of resources that are helpful for tracking fire activity and smoke throughout the summer. If you have a favorite fire season webpage or app that is not on the list below, please share it with us here.  

Fall Conference Updates

After several fire-related conferences and events were postponed in 2020, many of us had looked forward to in-person events this fall. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the safety and feasibility of in-person gatherings. Below we share updates and information on several conferences of interest. 

Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop
October 4-7, 2021 - hosted by IAWF

This event is now fully virtual. Workshop theme: Hard truths of risk inherent in cross-boundary, large landscape, and community-wide implementation. 


High Five II: Conference on the Research and Management of High-Elevation Five Needle Pines
October 5-7, 2021 - hosted by WPEF

This event is now fully virtual. Topics to be covered include (1) blister rust and mountain pine beetle, (2) rust resistance, (3) wildland fire dynamics, (4) restoration, (5) the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Plan, (6) ecology and ecophysiology, (7) genetic concerns, and (8) nutcracker-pine interactions.

REGISTER NOW (note there is an option for Federal Employees to register now and pay later)

International Fire Ecology and Management Congress
November 30-December 3, 2021 - hosted by AFE

This event is now fully virtual. Congress theme: Life with fire: Prescriptions for resilience.


Society of American Foresters National Convention
November 3-6, 2021 - hosted by SAF

This convention is now fully virtual. Convention theme: Forests for all and the ecosystems provided by them.


The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory (Fire Lab) has updated their website, Check out the updated website for information on the Fire Sciences Lab, the Fire, Fuel and Smoke Program, upcoming seminars, data, software, applications, products, and much more.

SKC Launches Natural Resources M.S. Degree Program

Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in Pablo, MT, now offers a Master of Science in Natural Resource Management Degree. The new degree is a result of a collaboration that took place over several years between Natural Resources Management Graduate Studies Program Director Dr. Rick Everett (a member of the NRFSN Planning Team), SKC, the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources (UI CNR), the National Science Foundation Tribal Colleges and University Program, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe’s Natural Resource Department.  The degree program is accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

This advanced degree will guide students in furthering their knowledge of natural resources and applied practices in Forest Management, Fire Ecology and Management, Hydrology, and Wildlife Management.  The program is a mixture of online and in-person classes to give students maximum flexibility for those that are employed or don’t live in the area. 

The program was developed as an offshoot of cooperation between UI and SKC that began in 2015 when Professor Penny Morgan, an Emerita of Fire Ecology and Forest Ecology from UI (and former member of the NRFSN Team), worked with Dr. Everett to develop common curriculum between fire ecology courses. Ultimately, they wanted to provide a pipeline to recruit students from SKC to enroll in the UI’s graduate program. Then, beginning in 2018, Dr. Everett, Dr. Alistair Smith (UI CNR) and Dr. Jerry McMurty (UI) submitted a successful grant proposal to fund a graduate program at SKC. The program officially launched September 2021.

Congratulations to Rick, SKC, and everyone involved in developing this program. We look forward to watching it grow and succeed!

--adapted from a July 22, 2021 Char-Koosta News press release   

Journal Fire Seeking Submissions for Special Issue

The Journal Fire is seeking submissions for a special issue "Effects of Wildfire on Biodiversity." Submissions are due on or before October 31st, 2021. The goal of this Special Issue is to compile a set of scientific articles describing how wildfire has impacted diversity in the ecosystem where they occurred. Editors invite articles that present measured or modeled effects of wildfire on diversity across various scales and dimensions of fire regime metrics and biological taxa.

Information and instructions can be found here.

Mike DeGrosky Retires

Mike DeGrosky, a member of the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network Advisory Board, retired in June from his position as the Fire Protection Bureau Chief for the Montana DNRC. Mike’s fire career began as a volunteer firefighter while he was still in high school and, over a career spanning more than 40 years, served in capacities including hotshot, fire management specialist, fire management officer, volunteer fire department captain, career fire department training officer and, for 20 years, as a consultant and leadership advisor to fire and emergency service organizations. 

Of his role as a member of the NRFSN Advisory Board, Mike said “I was honored to be asked to join and I appreciated the opportunity to help out a vibrant organization performing the vital role of disseminating science and cultivating networks of managers and scientists. It’s not a role you often see people from state agencies in, and it speaks highly of NRFSN that I always felt welcomed and my perspective valued. My role on the Advisory Board helped foster a valuable partnership between NRFSN and our agency." In retirement, Mike plans to do a lot more fishing, skiing, bicycling, and traveling, but intends to stay engaged with the fire community as well.

NRFSN greatly appreciated the thoughtful contributions and perspectives that Mike brought to our organization. Best wishes in your next chapter, Mike!


September 30
LANDFIRE Reference Database

October 18
Wildfire Science and Values

November 15
Fire, climate change and the resilience of Rocky Mountain forests

October 4-8
National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop

October 5-7
H5II – The Second Conference on the Research and Management of High Elevation Five Needle Pines in Western North America

October 19
Life from the Ashes: Exploring the Impact of Prescribed & Natural Fire on Insects and Other Invertebrates

November 3-6
Society of American Foresters National Convention

November 30 -  December 4
9th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress

March 7-10, 2022
Cross-Boundary Landscape Restoration Workshop
Ft. Collins, CO

May 23-27, 2022
Fire and Climate Impacts Issues and Futures 2022: Building a global approach to the wildfire challenge
Pasadena, CA

Wildfire Effects on Microclimate Conditions and Seedling Regeneration in Northern Rockies Mixed-Conifer Forests

Fitness and Wellness for Performance in Wildland Firefighting

Wildfire adapted Missoula - Thriving in fire country

Wildland Firefighters Mental Health and Well-being

Prescribed Burns: Fighting Fire with Fire

AFE Fire Ecology Chats

Fire University Podcast

Fireline Podcast

Good Fire Podcast

In the Woods Podcast

On the Line Podcast

The Fire Story Podcast

Wildland Fuel Science

Fire Facts

Search NRFSN Hot Topics

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire and Climate-
Warming enabled upslope advance in western US forest fires

Fire Behavior-
Objective identification of thunderstorm gust fronts in numerical weather prediction models for fire weather forecasting

Fire Communication and Education-
Pyrodiversity and biodiversity: A history, synthesis, and outlook

Fire Effects-
Fire and soils: measurements, modelling, management and challenges

Resin ducts and bark thickness influence pine resistance to bark beetles after prescribed fire

Tree crown injury from wildland fires: Causes, measurement and ecological and physiological consequences

Firefighter Health and Safety-
The association between heart rate variability, reaction time, and indicators of workplace fatigue in wildland firefighters

Wildland firefighters’ thermal exposure in relation to suppression tasks

Mapping smouldering fire potential in boreal peatlands and assessing interactions with the wildland–human interface in Alberta, Canada

Post-fire Management-
Improving post-wildfire peak streamflow predictions for small watersheds and communities

Post-fire Recovery-
Seeding locally-sourced native compared to introduced bunchgrasses post-wildfire in frigid Wyoming big sagebrush communities

Widespread regeneration failure in forests of Greater Yellowstone under scenarios of future climate and fire

Risk Management of Wildland Fire-
Transcending Parallel Play: Boundary Spanning for Collective Action in Wildfire Management

Development and application of the fireshed registry

Smoke and Human Health-
Excess of COVID-19 cases and deaths due to fine particulate matter exposure during the 2020 wildfires in the United States

Fire Adapted Communities Newsletter, August 2021

Great Basin Fire Science Research and Events, September 2021

LANDFIRE Newsletter, September 2021

Northwest Fire Science Consortium Newsletter, Aug-Sept 2021

Southern Rockies Fire Science Network Newsletter, September 2021

Traditional Knowledge & Fire Newsletter, August 2021

Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Newsletter, September 2021

Time to Change How We Fight Wildfires - The Hill

Wildfires in the West are inevitable, but this strategy can help control them - National Geographic

Then and now: The burning issue of wildfires - BBC

Fighting Fire with Fire - The Washington Post

Meet the People Burning California to Save It - The New York Times

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

Cory Davis, Science Communication Specialist  |  406.257.3166 
University of Montana, Missoula, Montana

Monique Wynecoop, Fire Ecologist & Tribal Liaison
NE WA Area Fire Ecologist, Region 6  |  509.684.7091                    
US Forest Service, Colville, Washington

Pamela Sikkink, Fire and Fuels Information Specialist |  406.829.7343
US Forest Service, Missoula, Montana

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