July 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue

NRFSN Resource Database is Live

The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network's searchable resource database houses more than 1,600 documents relevant to managing fire and fuels in the Northern Rockies.  

Resources can be searched by fire topic, ecosystem, document type, keyword, author, date, and more.

Visit the NRFSN Online Resource Database to explore the variety of search options. 

Mountain Pine Beetle Webinar Proceedings 

The Rocky Mountain Research Station recently released the Proceedings for the Future Forest Webinar Series: Ongoing Research and Management Responses to the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) Outbreak; it is available online. The Fall 2012 series consisted of the following webinars:
  • Post-epidemic fire risk and behavior - Kevin Ryan
  • Forests in transition: post-epidemic vegetation conditions - Mike Battaglia
  • Ecological consequences of the mountain pine beetle epidemic for wildlife habitats and populations - Vicki Saab
  • Beetles amoung us: social and economic impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic - Megan Matonis and Jan Engert
  • Small bugs with large-scale impacts: ecosystem and watershed-level responses to the mountain pine beetle epidemic - Rob Hubbard
  • Moving forward: responding to and mitigating effects of the mountain pine beetle epidemic - Claudia Regan and Barry Bollenbacher
The proceedings will be a useful reference to managers, researchers, and citizens addressing the MPB epidemic.

Please direct questions or comments to Megan Matonis.

Boise Basin Field Tour — September 17

Meet area land managers and researchers in the field to exchange fuel treatment success stories and lessons learned in management of ponderosa pine and dry conifer forests after fire exclusion. 

This tour will provide a forum to discuss logging, burning, and mastication treatment options for ponderosa pine and dry mixed-conifer forests.

While visiting a variety of sites in and around the Boise Basin Experimental Forest and the Idaho City Ranger District, managers and scientists will share their experiences with fuel management plans and strategies.

Save the date and register here.

Cross-jurisdictional Fire Management Workshop 

Participants of the Crafting Solutions for Management of Large Wildland Fires and Prescribed Fires Across Tribal and Nontribal Jurisdictions Workshop at the Large Wildland Fires conference in Missoula, MT, included tribal and public land managers, researchers, students, and public health officials. 

Through round-table discussions, workshop attendees worked to develop ways to integrate traditional knowledge and scientific knowledge in fire management. Participants shared their experiences and ideas related to fostering communication, understanding, and trust in cross-jurisdictional fire management including fuels treatments, prescribed fires, and wildland fires. 

The diversity of perspectives and backgrounds among workshop participants resulted in honest, educated discussion about the challenges and successes in fire management across tribal and nontribal boundaries. The workshop website provides more information, resources, and materials related to this topic.

Fuel Treatment Planning and Evaluation Workshop

A diverse group of researchers, managers, and students participated in the Defining Fuel Treatment Success Workshop that the NRFSN sponsored at the Large Wildland Fires conference in Missoula, MT.

Using an interactive, non-technical process, participants developed a workflow, or sequence of steps necessary to conduct a successful fuel treatment. During the workshop, participants refined their workflows and identified common problems, limitations, and recommendations for defining fuel treatment success. Limitations included inadequate funding, political support, and knowledge about fuel treatment impacts.

Participants found the structured brainstorming approach to be fast paced but useful for thinking about fuel treatment evaluation while avoiding data bottlenecks. Improved fuel treatment planning will help direct limited funds and resources to those projects that will make a measurable difference. To read more and/or try this exercise with your group, visit the workshop website.

JFSP Announces Funded Projects for FY2014

The Joint Fire Science Program has announced the projects funded for the 2014 fiscal year. A number of projects will serve the Northern Rockies.
  • Influence of past wildfires on wildfire effects in Northern Rockies mixed-conifer forest - Andrew Larson
  • How vegetation recovery and fuel conditions in past fires influences fuels and future fire management in five western U.S. ecosystems - Andrew Hudak
  • Evaluation of past-fire mosaics on subsequent wildfire behavior, severity, and management strategies - Susan Prichard
  • Phase dynamics of wildland fire smoke emissions and their secondary organic aerosols - Sonia Kreidenweis
  • Synthesis of comprehensive emissions measurements and multi-scale modeling for understanding secondary organic aerosol chemistry in wildland smoke plumes - Kelley Barsanti
  • Post-fire water quality: an investigation of determinants and recovery processes in burned watersheds in the western U.S. - Terri Hogue
  • Wildfire and fuel treatment strategy effects on water quantity across the conterminous United States - Ge Sun
  • Trial by fire: community adaptation and rebuilding after catastrophic wildfire - Miranda Mockrin
  • Risk perception, sense-making, and resilient performance: the sounds of wildland firefighting in action - Anne Black

NRFSN Receives Renewal Funding

The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network has been funded for another two years. The NRFSN will continue to facilitate the exchange of scientific knowledge and practical experience between managers, scientists, and others interested in fire and fuels science and management through workshops, field trips, webinars, and online resources.

Visit our website to view past, current, and future ventures.

If you have suggestions for specific projects or events that could foster even greater knowledge exchange about fire and its management in the Northern Rockies region, we invite you to share your ideas.   

MSU Fire Science Studies — At a Glance

LANDFIRE Map LayersMontana State University is a partner with the NRFSN. The MSU mission is to provide students ample opportunity to be creative, receive exposure to a diversity of  disciplines, and challenge themselves through inquiry- and research-based curricula.

One such research-based program is a Paleoecology project that focuses on fire and vegetation history. A new fire history study particularly relevant to the Northern Rockies involves the collaborative efforts of MSU's Dave McWethy, Rick Everett of Salish Kootenai College, students, tribal members, and federal researchers who are evaluating fire history from trees, lakes, and oral traditions. The team hopes to help land managers prepare for the future by reconstructing and understanding the past. Read more about this project.

For more about the program focusing on fire and vegetation history, visit MSU Paleoecology.

Online Fire Education for Professionals at the U of I

University of Idaho now offers 14 online courses in Fire Ecology and Management, including many courses at the graduate level.

Students can complete a Masters of Natural Resources (MNR) with an emphasis in Fire Ecology, entirely online. The MNR program is for professionals. It is course-based, requiring 30 credits and a professional project.

All MNR courses have been carefully designed and evaluated for effective student learning. One of the MNR courses, Landscape Habitat Dynamics, recently won an international award for course design.

Visit Fire Ecology and Management Online to learn more.

July 13-16
North American Congress for Conservation Biology
Missoula, MT

August 5-7
Climate Change Adaptation Regional Tribal Workshop
Bozeman, MT

September 17
Boise Basin Field Tour
Idaho City, ID

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

A spatial database of wildfires in the United States, 1992-2011

Accelerated restoration: new landscape tools to prioritize projects and analyze tradeoffs

Effectiveness of fuels treatments for mitigating wildfire risk and sequestering forest carbon: a case study in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Fire behavior in masticated fuels: a review

Fuel reduction practices and their effects on soil quality

Interactions among the mountain pine beetle, fires, and fuels

Northern Rockies pyrogeography: an example of fire atlas utility

Post-fire seeding in western United States forests: perspectives of resource managers

Simulated western spruce budworm defoliation reduces torching and crowning potential: a sensitivity analysis using a physics-based fire model

Development and evaluation of high resolution simulation tools to improve fire weather forecasts

Examining the influence and effectiveness of communication programs and community partnerships on public perceptions of smoke management: a multi-region analysis

Exploring how deliberation on scientific information shapes stakeholder perceptions of forest management and climate change

A number of research notes were produced from the comprehensive guide to fuel management practices for dry mixed-conifer forests in the northwestern United States:

Mudd Fire Deployment Lesson

Butte Fire Shelter Deployment

When a Tree Fails: Working Around Danger Trees

Little Venus Fire

Simulating vegetation fire and climate dynamics in a Northern Rocky Mountain landscape

Mountain pine beetle and fire: the British Columbia experience

The pyrogeography of western North America: how climate has affected fire regimes

Learning from escaped prescribed fire reviews
Effects of fuels treatments on the spatial probabilities of burning and final size of recent wildfires across the U.S.

Fuel management practices for ponderosa pine/dry mixed-conifer forests

Debunking social myths in wildland fire

The economic impact of large wildfires

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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