February 2016 Newsletter

In This Issue


Missoula Technology & Development Center Tour

You're invited to tour the Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) on March 29 from 9:30-11:30 am.

Attendees will learn about the latest advances in wildland fire and aviation technology and the potential impacts of current MTDC projects.

Topics include recent developments in: 
  • firefighter health
  • firefighter personal protective equipment or PPE
  • fire shelters
  • next generation airtankers
  • parachutes
  • wildland fire chemicals 
View the event flyer for additional details and to RSVP.

FEIS Now Searchable by Fire Regime

During a recent webinar, Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) staff introduced new fire regime products and demonstrated new search functions to inform fire planning and decision-making in the Northern Rockies and Northwest.

FEIS now offers Fire Regime Reports and Fire Regime Syntheses. Fire Regime Reports summarize information from thousands of LANDFIRE Biophysical Settings models grouped according to similarities in vegetation and fire history.

Fire Regime Syntheses add comprehensive, thoroughly documented reviews of the science in the Fire Regime Reports. New FEIS Fire Regime Syntheses provide the best science available on:
  • historical fire frequency, spatial pattern, and extent
  • historical ignition sources and seasonality
  • historical patterns of fire intensity and severity
  • contemporary changes in fire regimes, especially in relation to changes in fuels, climate, and invasive species
Watch the 30-minute webinar recording.

Travel Grants - Fire Behavior & Fuels Conference


The 5th International Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference - Wicked Problem, New Solutions: Our Fire, Our Problem will be held in Portland, OR, April 11-15, 2016.   

This conference is expected to be a highly educational and engaging event that advances the knowledge and practice of fire behavior and fuels management in the field of wildland fire.

To encourage participation in this conference and/or associated workshops, the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network (NRFSN) will be offering a limited number of grants for travel and/or registration.   

To apply for grants, see the NRFSN travel grant application.  

Travel Grants - Collaborative Restoration Workshop

The Collaborative Restoration Workshop: Working Toward Resilient Landscapes and Communities Workshop will be a forum for sharing innovative approaches to collaborative restoration, tools, and lessons about planning, implementing, and monitoring restoration efforts on and around National Forest System lands.

Through a series of plenary sessions and five breakout tracks, participants will engage deeply in discussing the successes, challenges, and critical questions facing community partners, the U.S. Forest Service, and many others working on collaborative efforts. Through the lenses of science, collaboration, planning, and monitoring, you’ll think critically about amplifying restoration and working together towards success in the future.

The NRFSN is providing a limited number of travel grants to support participation in this workshop. To apply, fill out the NRFSN travel grant application.

2015 NR Fire Season - Final Numbers

The table above provides the total number of fires and acres burned in 2015 in the Northern Rockies as reported by federal, state, and county land protection agencies and compiled by the Northern Rockies Coordination Center (NRCC).

For more information on this fire season, past fire seasons, and current fire incidents, visit the NRCC website

2015 Wildfire Spending

The National Interagency Fire Center reported that 2015 was the largest fire year in the U.S. based on number of acres burned (10,125,149). Fire cost in 2015 exceeded $2.6 billion.

With news of the record-breaking fire year and fire spending, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, urged congress to pass the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act. This would allow access to disaster funds when suppression costs exceed 70% of the 10-year average, and Forest Service budgets could be spent in the manner intended (restoration, fuels treatments, etc.). 

Read the full USDA News Release on a Wildfire Funding.

At a Glance - Rocky Mountains CESU


The Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (RM-CESU), an NRFSN partner, is part of a nationwide network that works to strengthen partnerships between federal agencies and non-federal institutions in conducting research, education, and technical assistance focused on natural resource, cultural resource, and environmental issues in the Rocky Mountains and select national issues.  

The RM-CESU partners serve the biological, physical, social, cultural, and engineering disciplines necessary to address resource management at multiple scales and within an ecosystem context.

Specifically, the RM-CESU works to: 
  • identify research, education, and technical assistance needs of RM-CESU agency partners.
  • cooperate in the development, implementation, reporting, and dissemination of research, education, and technical assistance projects.
  • coordinate research, education, and technical assistance projects among member agencies and academic institutions.
  • involve minority serving institutions.
  • facilitate opportunities for student research, internships, and education that are both pertinent to the needs of management and research agencies and to the training of future agency employees.

March 3
Planning for Connectivity on National Forests Under the 2012 Planning Rule

March 9
Restoring Fire-Prone Inland Pacific Landscapes: Seven Core Principles / Applying Principles of Landscape Restoration within the Eastern Cascades

Exit Interview with Tom Harbour, National Director of Fire & Aviation Management for the USFS -
Part 1Part 2, Part 3

Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive

March 8-10
2016 Wildland Urban Interface Conference
Reno, NV

March 14-16
9th Annual EPA Sponsored Smoke Management Meeting
Airway Heights, WA

March 16-17
5th Annual Washington Prescribed Fire Conference
Airway Heights, WA

March 29
Missoula Technology and Development Center - Open House
Missoula, MT

April 4-8
Society for Ecological Restoration Regional Conference
Portland, OR

April 6-7
Online FFI-Lite Software Training

April 11
The Future of Fire and Fuels Management: Adapting Fuels Treatments in a Changing Climate
Portland, OR

April 11-15
5th International Fire Behavior & Fuels Conference - Wicked Problem, New Solutions: Our Fire, Our Problem
Portland, OR

April 26-27
Collaborative Restoration Workshop: Working Toward Resilient Landscapes and Communities
Denver, CO

September 16-18
2016 Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Science and Management Conference
Whitefish, MT

November 14-17
2nd International Smoke Symposium
Long Beach, CA

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire Behavior -
A stochastic mixed integer program to model spatial wildfire behavior and suppression placement decisions with uncertain weather

Behaviour of slope and wind backing fires

Measurements relating fire radiative energy density and surface fuel consumption

Quantifying the influence of previously burned areas on suppression effectiveness and avoided exposure: a case study of the Las Conchas Fire

Fire and Economics -
Modeling fuel treatment impacts on fire suppression cost savings: a review

Production and efficiency of large wildland fire suppression effort: a stochastic frontier analysis

Fire Effects -
Fire effects on aquatic ecosystems: an assessment of the current state of science

Mixed severity fire effects within the Rim fire: relative importance of local climate, fire weather, topography, and forest structure
Shifting ecological filters mediate postfire expansion of seedling aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Yellowstone

Tree mortality from drought, insects, and their interactions in a changing climate

Western water threatened by wildfire: it's not just a public lands issue

Wildfire may increase habitat quality for spring Chinook salmon in the Wenatchee River subbasin, WA, USA

Fire Effects (Severity) -
Evaluation of spectral indices for estimating burn severity in semiarid grasslands

Fire severity estimation from space: a comparison of active and passive sensors and their synergy for different forest types

Towards a new paradigm in fire severity research using dose-response experiments

Fire and Future Climate -
A new model to simulate climate-change impacts on forest succession for local land management

Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: a comprehensive science synthesis

Fire and People -
Exploring how alternative mapping approaches influence fireshed assessment and human community exposure to wildfire

Measuring wildland fire leadership: the crewmember perceived leadership scale

Re-envisioning community-wildfire relations in the U.S. West as adaptive governance

The importance of social behavior research in wildfire science

Understanding the effect of large wildfires on residents' well-being: what factors influence wildfire impact?

Fire Policy -
2016 Red Book - Interagency standards for fire and fire aviation operations

Insights from wildfire science: a resource for fire policy discussions

The science of firescapes: achieving fire-resilient communities

Wildland fire science and technology task force final report

Fire and Traditional Knowledge
Opportunities to utilize traditional phenological knowledge to support adaptive management of social-ecological systems vulnerable to changes in climate and fire regimes

Special Sustainability Science Issue: Weaving indigenous and sustainability sciences to diversify our methods (WIS2DOM) 

Fuels -
A case study comparison of LANDFIRE fuel loading and emissions on a mixed conifer forest in northern Idaho, USA

Development and validation of fuel height models for terrestrial lidar

Fuel moisture sensitivity to temperature and precipitation: climate change implications

Using the photoload technique with double sampling to improve surface fuel loading estimates

Insect Outbreaks - 
Interactions among spruce beetle disturbance, climate change, and forest dynamics, captured by a forest landscape model

Prescribed fire does not promote outbreaks of a primary bark beetle at low-density populations

Recent tree die-off has little effect on streamflow in contrast to expected increases from historical studies

Management / Monitoring -
Achievable future conditions as a framework for guiding forest conservation and management

Prescribed Fire -
2015 National Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report

Measuring radiant emissions from entire prescribed fires with ground, airborne, and satellite sensors - RxCADRE 2012

Resilience -
Employing resilience in the United States Forest Service

Scanning the future of wildfire: resilience ahead...whether we like it or not?

Searching for resilience: addressing the impacts of changing disturbance regimes on forest ecosystem services

Restoration -
Prioritization of forest restoration projects: tradeoffs between wildfire protection, ecological restoration, and economic objectives

Restoring fire-prone Inland Pacific landscapes: seven core principles

Restoration handbook for sagebrush steppe ecosystems with emphasis on greater sage-grouse habitat - Part 2: landscape level restoration decisions

Risk and Uncertainty -
Decision making under uncertainty: recommendations for the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS)

Emerging concepts in wildfire risk assessment and management

Wildland Urban Interface -
Climate change and wildfire risk in an expanding wildland-urban interface: a case study from the Colorado Front Range corridor

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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