October 2019 Newsletter

In This Issue

Additional Events and Resources (Right Column)

JFSP 2020 Funding Opportunity
Announcements Open

The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) are now open through 5 pm MST, December 5, 2019. 

The Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) announcement proposals must address one or more of the following topic areas: 

  • Fuels management and fire behavior 
  • Changing fire environment
  • Emissions and air quality 
  • Fire effects and post-fire recovery 
  • Relative impacts of prescribed fire versus wildfire 
  • Human dimensions of fire 
An additional task statement focuses on the performance of fuel breaks and fuel break systems. 

Joint Fire Science Program: Resources on

In addition to funding opportunity notices, the Joint  Fire Science Program (JFSP) has many great resources available on Under the “publications” tab, you will find links to different types of publications including JFSP Digests, which are 5-7 page summaries of specific topic related to fire science or management. Fire science “briefs” highlight individual JFSP-funded projects. Comprehensive reviews of scientific literature for a particular topic, funded by JFSP, can be found under the “syntheses” tab. JFSP also maintains databases of past and ongoing research projects, results and deliverables from completed projects, and research needs identified by the broader fire community. These databases can be explored by clicking on the blue icons (project search, research results search, research needs search) or the “research” tab. 

Upcoming Workshops: Learning About Resilient Futures

Tuesday - Wednesday, February 18-19, 2020 | Bozeman, Montana
Thursday - Friday, February 20-21, 2020 | Missoula, Montana

Mark your calendars! These workshops are are part of a research project funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (What makes for a resilient landscape? Climate, fire and forests in the Northern Rockies). Each workshop will be 1.5 days, and they follow directly from workshops held at the beginning of this project. The first workshop (Dimensions of Resilience) in 2017 identified pressing questions from the management community about resilience, climate, and fire; and identified characteristics of interest to be modeled. 
At the second workshop, the research team will share simulation results at stand, landscape, and regional scales through the end of the 21st century. The research team and managers will jointly interpret what these projections mean for resilience; identify tradeoffs among different dimensions of resilience; determine what management interventions outcomes resolve or inadvertently intensify tradeoffs; and review limitations and appropriate use of modeling results. Expectations from Workshop #1 will be compared to model results, and participants will identify potential avenues for promoting landscape resilience. 
The research team is led by Monica G. Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison. To learn more and to register, visit our event pages for the Bozeman and Missoula workshops. 

Sign Up for New Traditional Knowledge & Fire Newsletter

Two women in hardhats and nomex firefighting clothes working on a fireWe are excited to announce the upcoming first issue of our new newsletter -  Traditional Knowledge and Fire!  The primary goal of this bi-annual newsletter is to provide an avenue for those interested in the topic of TK and Fire to find and share upcoming news, events, management tools and applications, research, and more related to TK and fire and fuels management in the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. This newsletter will be an avenue to share and educate others about the important role that fire has had and continues to play in our diverse tribal cultures and communities and highlight the innovative projects and research being accomplished by and in partnership with tribal communities to help restore our human-adapted ecosystems.
To subscribe to the Traditional Knowledge and Fire Newsletter, visit our registration page. Please feel free to submit any articles or shout-outs related to TK and Fire to Monique Wynecoop and we will make sure and include them in the upcoming newsletter.

Map your Values in IFTDSS: The Next Step toward Exposure Analysis and Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessment (Coming Soon!)


The IFTDSS is a web-based application designed to make fuels treatment planning and analysis more efficient and effective. Map Values allows you to create a consolidated spatial layer that contains Highly Valued Resources or Assets (HVRAs - download flyer) for your area. This spatial layer is known as an HVRA Set. This HVRA Set is then saved in your Workspace for easy retrieval and display in Map Studio. Overlaying HVRA Sets with model outputs in Map Studio enables quick qualitative assessment of modeled fire behavior in relation to your mapped values.  
Watch the Video or read all about it in the Help Center!
Landscape Burn Probability Model (download flyer) was released in July 2019 and is the first of four phases in the development of the Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessment (download flyer) in the Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS). Information on Burn Probability available in the Help Center. Development will continue throughout the year with functionality being released incrementally as it is completed. The remaining three phases will be released throughout the fall and winter of 2019-2020. Learn more at the IFTDSS website.

FlamMap 6.0 Updates

FlamMap version 6.0 was released in June 2019 by the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Lab. It addressed previous known bugs, improved system performance, and increased functionality such as the inclusion of FARSITE. The installation zip file includes guidance on program installation and FlamMap6 Release Notes describing the newest features and functionality.
The FlamMap fire mapping and analysis system (Finney 2006) describes potential fire behavior for constant environmental conditions of weather and fuel moisture.  Potential fire behavior calculations include surface fire spread, flame length, crown fire activity type, crown fire initiation, and crown fire spread. Dead fuel moisture and conditioning of dead fuels in each pixel based on slope, shading, elevation, aspect, and weather. Calculations for fire behavior are made within individual pixels independently within the landscape file. For a list of the new features within FlamMap 6.0 visit this link

Additional information on FlamMap and software downloads can be accessed from the FlamMap website or by contacting Chuck McHugh at the RMRS Fire Sciences Lab.

WindNinja Updates  

The Rocky Mountain Research Station's Fire Sciences Lab released WindNinja versions 3.5.1, 3.5.2, and 3.5.3 in 2019.  These minor releases fixed several issues related to changes on third-party data servers, including NOMADS migration to HTTPS and changes to the Google Maps API terms of service. WindNinja version 4.0.0 is due out in 2020 and will include major upgrades to modernize the graphical user interface and enhancements to the weather model initialization option.

WindNinja-Mobile was developed to make high-resolution wind forecasts available on phones and tablets for field users that do not have convenient access to laptop computers. The mobile app allows users to initiate WindNinja simulations on a remote server. When the simulation is done, results can be downloaded and viewed on a mobile device. Wi-Fi or cell connectivity is required to setup and download a simulation (typically < 15 min.); once downloaded, the output can be viewed without connectivity. Several map layers, including topo and aerial imagery, are available as basemaps. Additional fire-related information, including MODIS and VIIRS fire detections and GEOMAC fire perimeters, can also be viewed on the map. Version 2.0.0 is scheduled for release in Fall 2019 and includes an updated interface with a 3-D viewer, an internal change to conservation of mass and momentum solver, and added ability to share simulations. 

View the story map to learn more about WindNinja. 

For additional information and to download the app, check the WindNinja website or contact Natalie Wagengrenner at the RMRS Fire Sciences Lab. 

A Guide for Firefighters and their Families

Cover of guide showing firefighter silhouetted against a background of smokeThe National Wildfire Coordinating Group has developed A Guide for Firefighters and Their Families, which is designed provide information, resources, and conversation regarding a career in federal fire response. This interagency document provides candid information and resources to help wildland firefighters and their families understand risks of the job and plan for the unexpected outcomes. 

The guide provides information for families about the unique career of wildland firefighting, including irregular schedules and extended time away from home; an overview of the hazards and risks that come with the career: including long term impacts to physical and mental health, resources for support and tools for planning in the event of a serious injury or loss of life.

As a living, online publication, A Guide for Firefighters and Their Families can be updated as new information and resources become available. Feedback is encouraged, sought and can be provided to the NWCG Risk Management Committee.

The guide cites information from established sources, professional organizations, and peer-reviewed publications. Agency-specific information that will be helpful for employees of the USDA Forest Service can be found in the Forest Service Death and Serious Injury Handbook.

Now Accepting Nominations for 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Awards 

The International Association of Fire ChiefsNational Association of State ForestersNational Fire Protection Association, and USDA Forest Service are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Wildfire Mitigation Awards.    
The Wildfire Mitigation Awards (WMA) are the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation.  The three award categories are: 
  • National Wildfire Mitigation Award 
  • National Mitigation Hero Award 
  • Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award 
These awards are designed to recognize outstanding service in wildfire preparedness and safety across a broad spectrum of activities and among a variety of individuals and organizations. By honoring these achievements, the award sponsors also seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value of wildfire mitigation efforts. 
Review award criteria (PDF) and submit a nomination by November 15. 
For more information, contact Meghan Marklewitz at or 703-896-4839.

NRFSN -  Summer 2019 Events

Working Across Boundaries to Implement the Cohesive Strategy in the Northern Rockies Field Tour 
This June 20th field tour showcased implementation of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy on the ground. The tour visited the Lolo National Forest Marshall Woods Restoration Project near Missoula to discuss community mitigation and education on private lands, fuel treatments on public lands adjacent to a complex human landscape, and the Wildfire Adapted Missoula Project. The group heard about the collaborative efforts in Missoula County to address community wildfire preparedness and visited the Flathead Reservation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for presentations about shared incident response, the integration of science into fire operations, and a multi-jurisdictional fire and fuels management program that incorporates traditional knowledge, western science, and partnerships. 

Featured partners on this field tour included the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Missoula County, Lolo Restoration Committee and the Blackfoot Challenge. The field tour agenda and handouts are available on the event web page.

Bob Marshall Wilderness Fire Workshop
and Field Trip

Wilderness Fire: Easier Now or Later?  This workshop and field tour were hosted on the eastside of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. The event brought together managers and scientists to share knowledge about topics important to wilderness fire management. These included future challenges related to changing climate and fire seasons; vegetation, soil, and water response to fire; resilience; risk management; and ideas for strengthening wilderness fire management. During the field tour, participants hiked to Sun Butte for views and discussions of the landscape mosaic of vegetation patterns created by past fires. The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network partnered with the Rocky Mountain Ranger District, Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest to host this event July 9-11, 2019. See the field trip event page for videos and downloadable copies of workshop presentations, handouts, and the workshop agenda.


Whitebark Pine Science and Management Conference and Field Trip

The Far View from the Mountaintops: Meshing Past and Present Whitebark Pine Science, Management, and Cultural Significance

The workshop on September 13th featured a variety of talks on the latest science and restoration efforts and the cultural significance of whitebark pine.  

On September 14th, field trip attendees hiked to a cone collection site on the Flathead Indian Reservation to hear about the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) whitebark pine restoration and reforestation efforts, and hear stories from CSKT Forestry and Cultural Preservation managers about their experiences working on whitebark pine restoration. Discussions focused on management approaches and philosophies, what has worked and has not, as well as outlooks for the future of whitebark pine in the area. It was a great honor and rare opportunity for many of the attendees to visit the site and pay their respects to “Ilawye”, meaning the “Great Great Grandparent”, a sacred and ancient whitebark pine snag bearing many fire scars and evidence of surviving for millennia. One participant noted that, “Standing next to such a resilient and ancient tree snag and her many descendants with such a knowledgeable and passionate group of people all united for the same cause, it was hard not to be hopeful for the future of whitebark pine.”

This event was co-hosted by the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation, The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Salish Kootenai College, and the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network.

See the past event page for the agenda and to download pdfs of available talks.

2019 Fire Season - Numbers to Date

Table showing numbers of wildfires and acres burned for Idaho Montana and  Wyoming for 2019
This table shows the number of fires and acres burned to date for our region as reported by land protection agencies (BIA, BLM, FS, NPS, Idaho Department of Lands, and Montana Counties and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) and compiled by the Northern Rockies Coordination Center (NRCC).

Numbers of fires and acres burned for the 10-year average (2007-2016) fire seasons are provided as a comparison for the 2019 fire season to date.

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

NRFSN Staff Updates

photo of Signe LeirfallomSigne Leirfallom joined NRFSN in late October as our new Coordinator. Originally from Missoula, Signe spent several years working as a field research technician at the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Laboratory in Missoula before pursuing an M.S. in Forestry at the University of Montana. For the last five years, she has worked as the Forestry Coordinator for the Blackfoot Challenge, a community conservation organization based in Ovando, Montana. When not working, Signe can usually be found chasing her toddler and enjoying the forests of western Montana. We are very pleased to have Signe join our team!

Regional Staff Updates

MelaPhoto of Melany Glossany Glossa, most recently the Deputy Regional Forester in the Eastern Region, joined the Northern Region as Deputy Regional Director in August 2019. Previously, Melany worked as a wildlife biologist and game warden in Missouri prior to joining the Forest Service. She began her Forest Service career as a NEPA planner on the White River National Forest in Colorado in 2001, and later moved into the Forest Planner position.  She was the Ecosystem Staff Officer on the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho and a District Ranger on the Williamette National Forest in Oregon. Melany then served as the Forest Supervisor on the Hoosier National Forest in Indiana and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana.
Keith Lannom, previously Forest Supervisor on the Payette National Forest, started working as Deputy Regional Director in the Northern Region in August 2019.  Keith began his Forest Service career at the Southern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis unit in Mississippi in 1992. He left the agency for a short period and worked for a geospatial consulting firm, and returned to the Forest Service as a Remote Sensing Analyst for the Remote Sensing Applications Center in Utah. He later became a District Ranger on the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and Deputy Forest Supervisor on the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.  

Nov 7
2 - 3 pm MST
Green on Black: A Fire History of the Pacific Northwest

Nov 13
12 - 1 pm MST
Assessment of Wildfire Community Protection Plans

Dec 3
1 - 2 pm MST
The North American Wildland Fuels Database (NAWFD): Improved Information on Fuel Loading for Fire and Smoke Modeling in Research and Operations

Nov 7-8
Montana Forest Collaboration 4th Annual Workshop
Missoula, Montana

Nov 18-22
Cultivating Pyrodiversity: 8th Annual Fire Ecology and Management Congress
Tucson, Arizona

Nov 18-21
Wildand Fire Canada 2019 Conference
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Nov 19-21
2019 Forest Inventory & Analysis Stakeholders Science Meeting
Knoxville, Tennessee

February 18-19
Learning about Resilient Futures
Bozeman, MT

February 20-21
Learning about Resilient Futures
Missoula, MT

March 10-12
Fire in the Crown of the Continent
Cranbrook, BC, Canada

March 30 - April 10
Wakefield, Virginia

Management responses to mountain pine beetle infestations on national forestlands in the western U.S.

Assessing wildland firefighter sleep and fatigue while on fire assignment

Up and down: The wildfire economy

Wildland firefighter health effects study - a brief overview

Fish and fire: Habitat and history in the Northwest
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars  

Whitebark Pine Restoration and Management

Post-fire Salvage Logging

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire and Climate-
Evaluating ecological resilience across wildfire suppression levels under climate and fuel treatment scenarios using landscape simulation modelling

User guide to the FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment (VA) tool: A rapid and flexible system for assessing ecosystem vulnerability to climate-fire interactions

Fire and People-
Social vulnerability to large wildfires in the western USA

Wildfire exposure to the wildland urban interface in the western US

Interactions between resident risk perceptions and wildfire risk mitigation: Evidence from simultaneous equations modeling

Fire and Traditional Knowledge-
A Special Issue of the Journal of Forestry—Tribal Forest Management: Innovations for Sustainable Forest Management

Fire Behavior / Prediction-
firebehavioR: An R package for fire behavior and danger analysis

Severe Fire Danger Index: A forecastable metric to inform firefighter and community wildfire risk management

Fire ember production from wildland and structural fuels - JFSP Final Report

Fire Effects-
The survival of Pinus ponderosa saplings subjected to increasing levels of fire behavior and impacts on post‐fire growth

Does burn severity affect plant community diversity and composition in mixed conifer forests of the United States Intermountain West one decade post fire?

Do lakes feel the burn? Ecological consequences of increasing exposure of lakes to fire in the continental United States

Vegetation succession in an old-growth ponderosa pine forest following structural restoration with fire: implications for retreatment and maintenance - JFSP Final Report

Fire History-
Is anthropogenic pyrodiversity invisible in paleofire records?

Fire Management / Decision Support-
Collaborations and capacities to transform fire management

Fire Refugia-
Contributions of fire refugia to resilient ponderosa pine and dry mixed‐conifer forest landscapes

How much forest persists through fire? High-resolution mapping of tree cover to characterize the abundance and spatial pattern of fire refugia across mosaics of burn severity

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

Tamm Review: Shifting global fire regimes: Lessons from reburns and research needs

Fire Resilience-
Rethinking resilience to wildfire

Resilience and fire management in the Anthropocene

Fire Severity-
Giving ecological meaning to satellite-derived fire severity metrics across North American forests

Firefighter Health / Safety-
Escape Route Index: A spatially-explicit measure of wildland firefighter egress capacity

A review of US wildland firefighter entrapments: trends, important environmental factors and research needs

Fuel Treatments and Effects-
Lick Creek Demonstration-Research Forest: 25-year fire and cutting effects on vegetation & fuels - JFSP Final Report

Effects of variable density thinning and burning treatments - JFSP Final Report

Post-fire Management-
Is that tree dead?  Quantifying fire-killed trees to inform salvage and forest management

Recovery after Fire-
Impacts of growing-season climate on tree growth and post-fire regeneration in ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests

Climate will increasingly determine post-fire tree regeneration success in low-elevation forests, Northern Rockies, USA

Tamm Review: Reforestation for resilience in dry western US forests

Simulation Modeling-
Mortality reconsidered: Testing and extending models of fire-induced tree mortality across the US - JFSP Final Report

Smoke & Air Quality-
The impact of wildfires on particulate carbon in the western U.S.A

Custer-Gallatin National Forest Bacon Rind Fire renewal - MTPR, KTVHBozeman Chronicle

Can 'big data' help fight big fires? NY Times

The west's worst fires aren't burning in forests - High Country News

Withstanding wildfire with words: study seeks best ways to recovery - The Missoulian

Mann Gulch tragedy gives birth to modern fire science - MTPR

Inside the Fire Lab - The Filson Journal

Missoula Fire Lab provides firefighters with insights, tools - The Missoulian

USFS Wildland Fire Management RD&A, Summer 2019


Great Plains Fire Science Exchange

Northwest Fire Science Consortium

Western Cohesive Strategy Wildland Fire Management Strategy - Western Region 

Forest & Fire Ecology PhD Assistantship, University of Montana

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

Linda Mutch, Science Communication Specialist  |  559.565.3174
National Park Service, Three Rivers, California

Monique Wynecoop, Fire Ecologist  |  509.684.7091
Colville National Forest, Colville, Washington

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