April 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

NRFSN Field Trips, Workshops, and Webinars

Webinar: BehavePlus Updates and Changes
May 9, 12:00PM, MDT

A new version of BehavePlus, one of the most widely used fire behavior modeling systems in the U.S., was released in February 2018. In this webinar, Fire Lab scientist, Faith Ann Heinsch, will present the major updates to BehavePlus version 6 and show sample runs demonstrating these updates. She will also provide suggestions for calculating surface fire behavior using the new version and describe how changes in BehavePlus affect NWCG courses that use the program (e.g., S-490; RX-301/341). Finally, she'll discuss how to access additional resources for information on BehavePlus. Check the NRFSN event page for more information and to register.

Field Trip: Fuel Treatment Effects in Ponderosa Pine and Mixed Conifer Forests: 17 Years after the Fire-Fire Surrogate Study
May 31, Lubrecht Experimental Forest, Montana

The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network and UM Franke College of Forestry and Conservation invite you on a field tour of one of the National Fire-Fire Surrogate Study Sites at Lubrecht Experimental Forest. This study, initiated in 1999, evaluates the effects of thinning and burning treatments in fire-adapted ponderosa pine-mixed conifer forests. We will discuss short and mid-term treatment effects, including stand dynamics, fuel treatment longevity, potential fire behavior, bark beetle activity, and soil productivity. Check the NRFSN event page for more details and to register. Attendance is capped and registration is first come, first served. 

Long-Term Vegetation Recovery and Reburn Potential Workshop
June 11-13, McCall, Idaho

This workshop will bring 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 is 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. Check the NRFSN event page for more information and to register.

2018 Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Science and Management Workshop
September 20-22, Stanley, Idaho

This year's workshop will feature the theme "Central Idaho Whitebark Pine: High, Dry And Burned." The workshop will include 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. 

How Are We Doing? Please Take Our Survey

Please consider participating in this national survey evaluating the effectiveness of Fire Science Exchange Networks across the country. This survey helps us determine how effective we have been in facilitating communication between fire and fuels managers and scientists, and if the methods we are using (field tours, workshops, and on-line resources) meet your information needs. Your feedback will help us prioritize our communication efforts, and more explicitly meet your needs for fire science delivery and information exchange. Thank you for your interest in NRFSN, and we hope that you can spare 10-15 minutes to complete this survey.

Fire Continuum Conference Update 

The May 21-24 Fire Continuum Conference in Missoula, Montana is rapidly approaching - don't forget to register by April 30, 2018, to avoid the late registration cost. In addition to presentations, special sessions, workshops and field trips, the conference includes several social events to foster community and encourage networking. 

Share your wildland-fire inspired art at the 2nd Exhibition of Art & Expression of Wildland Fires, an art exhibit and competition encouraging all art media, including textile, painting, wearable, photography, ceramics, collage, poetry, sculpture, carving etc. Participants are invited to donate their work to a silent auction fundraiser supporting the “Mike DaLuz Memorial Student Travel Scholarship Fund” and the “IAWF Student Scholarship Fund”. Art that is donated to the Silent Auction will be displayed and auctioned at The Fire Continuum Conference Evening Event on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. To reserve your space for display or more details please contact: Kim Skufca, 406-207-6574.

See the Fire Continuum Conference website for information on other social events, including several after hours networking opportunities, a social reception with sponsors and exhibitors, an evening in downtown Missoula, and an after-conference party at Marshall Mountain! 

IRMA: National Park Service Data and Publications Online


Looking for reports, publications, and datasets about national parks? Visit the Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA) portal where you can search, view, download, and print information from multiple sources and systems, all from a single user interface. A recent search for fire-related information for Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks returned 404 and 1,101 records, respectively.

Key features available on IRMA include:

  • Search for documents and data, giving you access to tens of thousands of documents, datasets, and other resources related to national parks. Entering a search term and the park unit(s) will retrieve a list of titles and associated information, many with the full-text document or data file attached.
  • Get a species list for a park.
  • Apply for a permit to conduct scientific research in a park.

The National Park Service (NPS) Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate developed IRMA to improve the way NPS manages and delivers resource information to parks, partners, and the public. 

RMRS Research Data Archive

The Rocky Mountain Research Station's Research Data Archive makes data readily available. This archive publishes and preserves short and long-term research data collected from studies funded by the Forest Service Research and Development (FS R&D), the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute (ALWRI).

Currently, the RMRS Research Data Archive contains 328 data sets. It includes data from work on Experimental Forests and Ranges, and from National Forests and public lands. It also houses data from monitoring programs and from fuel treatments, as well as data from basic research on soils, water, LIDAR mapping, geospatial data, and much more. Each data title contains at least one data file, complete metadata for the data set(s), and maps, research notes, study plans, associated online publications, and other documentation. New data sets are continually added, which keeps research data up-to-date and expands the topics and geographic areas covered within the archives.  

Each of these datasets can be a useful source of data and information in many fields of work, including fire, hydrology, chemistry, agriculture, forestry, wilderness, ecology, wildlife, and human-use of natural areas. A search engine is available to help find information on a specific location or topics of interest, so check out the RMRS Research Data Archives to see what is available.

JFSP GRIN Funding Opportunity Now Open

The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) invites current master and doctoral students enrolled at colleges or universities within the US in the field of wildland fire and related physical, biological, and social sciences to apply for a Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) award. The purpose of a GRIN award is to enhance student exposure to the management and policy relevance of their research to achieve beneficial outcomes of funded work. The Funding Opportunity Announcement is open through May 30, 2018. 

The JFSP is also interested in understanding the science needs of decision-makers, which provides an opportunity for students to enhance their understanding of how science can be used to inform fire-related policy. As a result, these awards are intended to enable graduate students to conduct research that will supplement and enhance the quality, scope, or applicability of their thesis or dissertation to develop information and products useful to managers and decision-makers. You can access the full Funding Opportunity Announcement and application here.

At a Glance - The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation


The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF), an NRFSN partner, promotes the conservation of whitebark pine ecosystems by supporting restoration, education, management, and research projects that enhance knowledge and stewardship of these valuable ecosystems.

Whitebark pine ecosystems are found at high elevations throughout the Northern Rockies, and the tree is considered both a keystone and foundational species, providing nourishment and shelter to wildlife, among many other ecological roles. However, the species is currently facing multiple threats:  mountain pine beetle outbreaks, a non-native pathogen white pine blister rust, increased competition resulting from fire suppression and climate change. The WPEF plays an important role in bringing together organizations, government agencies, and individuals to facilitate research and management activities to address these threats. 

The WPEF and NRFSN partnered together on the 2013 and 2016 Whitebark Pine Science and Management Workshops. We will be joining forces again for the 2018 Whitebark Pine Science and Management Workshop in Stanley, Idaho, September 20-22, 2018, which will be hosted by USDA Forest Service Forest Health Protection, Boise Field Office.

Fire Lab Researchers Receive Paul Gleason Award


Meteorologist Larry Bradshaw and Research Ecologist Matt Jolly recently received the most prestigious award offered by the wildland fire community, the Paul Gleason Lead by Example Award, for their work to modernize and improve the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). Jolly and Bradshaw both work with the U.S. Forest Service Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program at the Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Laboratory.
Their work in transitioning the NFDRS indices into a decision support tool has increased firefighter safety and ability to manage risk, according to Shane Olpin, Chair of the National Wildlife Coordinating Group (NWCG) Leadership Committee.
The RMRS Fire Lab in Missoula, Montana, released the first NFDRS in 1972. This system is widely used by all in wildland fire. The updated version, known as NFDRS 2016, is noted for being able to meet the needs of decision makers at all levels, while remaining simple and relevant to operational fire fighters.
The NWCG, which represents the entire wildland fire community, presents this award, recognizing those who set the example through leadership and practice of the wildland fire leadership values and principles and to those who stand out because they are visionaries, mentors, or innovators.

View a recent presentation by Matt Jolly on the National Fire Danger Rating System.

April 25
Capitalizing on strategic opportunities to reduce cheatgrass: Field examples

May 7
Performing quality straw inspections for restoration projects

May 9
BehavePlus Updates and Changes

May 16
Adapting Wildfire Management to 21st Century Conditions
Search the NRFSN Webinar Archive for recordings of past webinars

April 27-29, 2018
National Wildland Fire Conference
San Diego, California

May 15-18, 2018
12th Fire and Forest Meteorology Symposium
Boise, Idaho

May 21-24, 2018
Fire Continuum Conference - Preparing for the Future of Wildland Fire
Missoula, Montana

May 31, 2018
Fuel Treatment Effects in Ponderosa Pine and Mixed Conifer Forests Field Trip
Lubrecht Experimental Forest, Montana

June 11-13, 2018
Long-Term Vegetation Recovery and Reburn Potential Workshop
McCall, Idaho

June 13-14, 2018
FireWorks Educator Workshop
Missoula, Montana

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

September 11-14, 2018
14th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Big Sky, Montana

September 18-22, 2018
2018 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference
Mt. Crested Butte, Colorado

September 20-22, 2018
2018 Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Science and Management Workshop
Stanley, Idaho

White Cap Wilderness Fire Study - 45th Anniversary Video

Diversity: Just Gender and Race…Or a Diversity of Perspectives?

Fire Management Lessons Learned when Burning Duff

Quantifying Post-fire Recovery of Rangeland Productivity

The Forest Inventory and Analysis tree-ring data base: applications and opportunities

Applying the WiRē Approach

All about the tallgrass, from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Secretary Perdue Applauds Fire Funding Fix in Omnibus, from U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Fire potential in Montana predicted to be above average for summer 2018, from the Missoulian.

Predicting the Future to Save Whitebark Pine, from USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Sage-Grouse Lek Cam

Search the NRFSN Research & Publications Database

Fire and Climate-
Wildfire-vegetation dynamics affect predictions of climate change impact on bird communities

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

Fire and Disturbances-
Overlapping bark beetle outbreaks, salvage logging and wildfire restructure a lodgepole pine ecosystem

Ten years of monitoring illustrates a cascade of effects of white pine blister rust and focuses whitebark pine restoration in the Canadian Rocky and Columbia Mountains

Disturbance Alters the Relative Importance of Topographic and Biogeochemical Controls on Microbial Activity in Temperate Montane Forests

Fire and People-
Sleep in wildland firefighters: what do we know and why does it matter?

Citizen fire academy: curriculum package for facilitators and educators

How does information affect fire risk reduction behaviors? Mediating effects of cognitive processes and subjective knowledge

The role of communication in preparation for wildland fire: a literature review

Understanding the factors that influence perceptions of post-wildfire landscape recovery across 25 wildfires in the northwestern United States

Human-related ignitions increase the number of large wildfires across U.S. ecoregions

Rapid growth of the US wildland-urban interface raises wildfire risk

Scalable evacuation routing in a dynamic environment

Influences on the adoption and implementation of a wildfire mitigation program in an Idaho city

Fire Behavior / Prediction-
Optimizing precipitation thresholds for best correlation between dry lightning and wildfires

Biological and geophysical feedbacks with fire in the Earth system

The sensitivity of US wildfire occurrence to pre-season soil moisture conditions across ecosystems

An improved non-equilibrium model for the ignition of living fuel

Survival analysis and classification methods for forest fire size

Fire spread across a sloping fuel bed: flame dynamics and heat transfers

Defining Extreme Wildfire Events: Difficulties, Challenges, and Impacts

Pyro-Ecophysiology: Shifting the Paradigm of Live Wildland Fuel Research

Some requirements for simulating wildland fire behavior using insight from coupled weather-wildland fire models

A comparison of the US National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) with recorded fire occurrence and final fire size

High severity fire: evaluating its key drivers and mapping its probability across western US forests

Fire Effects-
Everything you wanted to know about wildland fires in forests but were afraid to ask: Lessons learned, ways forward

In ecoregions across western USA streamflow increases during post-wildfire recovery

Fire intensity impacts on post-fire temperate coniferous forest net primary productivity

Unearthing belowground bud banks in fire-prone ecosystems

Mixed-severity fire fosters heterogeneous spatial patterns of conifer regeneration in a dry conifer forest

Pinus albicaulis Engelm. (Whitebark Pine) in mixed-species stands throughout Its US range: Broad-scale indicators of extent and recent decline

Effects of prescribed fires on soil properties: a review

Advancing fire science with large forest plots and a long-term multidisciplinary approach

Wildfires managed for restoration enhance ecological resilience

Fire and Wildlife
Snowshoe hare multi-level habitat use in a fire-adapted ecosystem

Balancing ecological costs and benefits of fire for population viability of disturbance-dependent butterflies

Fire-induced change in floral abundance, density, and phenology benefits bumble bee foragers

Fire planning for multispecies conservation: integrating growth stage and fire severity

Fire Management / Decision Support-
Managing Fire and Biodiversity in the Wildland-Urban Interface: A Role for Green Firebreaks

Back to the Future: Building resilience in Colorado Front Range forests using research findings and a new guide for restoration of ponderosa and dry-mixed conifer landscapes

Guidelines for risk management in forest planning — what is risk and when is risk management useful?

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

Fire Regimes- 
Spatial and temporal variability and trends in 2001-2016 global fire activity

Fire frequency drives decadal changes in soil carbon and nitrogen and ecosystem productivity

Environmental justice and U.S. Forest Service hazardous fuels reduction: a spatial method for impact assessment of federal resource management actions

Multiobjective prioritization of preselected fuel treatment strategies for public forestland: a case study in Flathead County, Montana

A conservation paradox in the Great Basin-altering sagebrush landscapes with fuel breaks to reduce habitat loss from wildfire

Smoke & Air Quality-
Carbon cycle and climate effects of forcing from fire-emitted aerosols

The health impacts and economic value of wildland fire episodes in the U.S.: 2008-2012

NWCG Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed Fire

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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