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October 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue     

MTBS announces data updates

Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) is a multi-year project designed to consistently map the burn severity and perimeters of fires across all lands of the United States from 1984 and beyond. Data are used to help identify national trends in burn severity and provide information to help monitor the effectiveness of the National Fire Plan and Healthy Forests Restoration Act. 

Project updates include:
  • Data Now Available as Web Map Service: Fire occurrence points, burn area boundaries, and burn severity data of the entire MTBS data record. View MTBS National Geospatial Data webpage
  • 2011 Data Now Available: 2011 MTBS data and products for over 1700 fires 
  • MTBS Data Record Updated: All new and revised data have been added and updated to the entire MTBS data record (1984-2010)
 Read more about these MTBS updates

JFSP opens 2014 research funding opportunity

The Joint Fire Science Program has opened the 2014 research funding opportunity, which addresses the four categories below. The deadline for proposals is December 11, 2013, 5pm MST.

Primary Solicitation with 7 Opportunities:  
  1. Fuels treatment effectiveness across landscapes
  2. Influence of past wildfires on wildfire behavior, effects and management
  3. Contribution of smoke emissions to secondary organic aerosols
  4. Effects of smoke from wildland fires on human health in urban centers
  5. Compatibility of fire and fuel treatments with threatened and endangered bats
  6. Effects of wildfire on water
  7. Fire weather data resolution
New Science Initiative - Social Science: Two areas of interest - Fire-adapted Communities and Risk Perception
The Graduate Research Innovation Award (GRIN): Current Masters and Doctorate graduate students enrolled in U.S. colleges or universities in the fields of wildland fire and related human dimensions and ecological sciences are invited to apply.
Knowledge Exchange Consortia Pre-Proposals: Soliciting pre-proposals to support two new consortia of fire science providers and managers to enhance the exchange and adoption of fire science: Northeast and mid-Atlantic region, and Washington, DC (focused on the policy-making community rather than field practitioners).

NRFSN research needs survey results

In September 2013, the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network conducted an online survey of research needs, priority topics for science dissemination, and priority ecosystems. Sixty-four managers (USFS, NPS, BLM, BIA, FWS, MT DNRC, private) and 17 researchers (USFS, USGS, University) who work in the Northern Rockies told us the following (click image to view graph):
  • For both managers and researchers, priority topics for research and science dissemination are: ecological fire effects, fire history/fire regime, and climate-fire dynamics.
  • Researchers ranked the following research needs higher than did managers: climate-fire dynamics, geospatial fire analysis, weather data/prediction, and 1st order fire effects.
  • Among managers, fire specialists and line officers ranked the following research needs higher than did other disciplinary specialists: public communication/education, weather data/prediction, fire technology, and fire behavior prediction/modeling. However, other specialists requested more science dissemination on post-fire restoration.
  • Priority ecosystems for science dissemination are Douglas-fir dry mixed conifer, Douglas-fir mesic mixed conifer, and lodgepole pine.
The NRFSN has forwarded information on the three top future research needs to the JFSP. We will use the feedback on priority topics for science dissemination and priority ecosystems as we compile relevant resources and develop NRFSN activities (e.g., fieldtrips, workshops, webinars, and syntheses).

Human Factors and Risk Management RD&A -- At a glance

The Human Factors & Risk Management Research Development and Application (HFRM RD&A) is a partner with the Northern Rockies Fire Science Network. The HFRM RD&A was created in 2009 as a partnership between the USDA Forest Service’s Office of Fire and Aviation Management, Office of Safety and Occupational Health, and Rocky Mountain Research Station with a mission of simultaneously advancing the theory and practice of risk management to improve individual and organizational health, safety, and performance. Long-term expected outcomes include a reduced number of employee accidents and casualties, as well as improved resiliency and reliability of employees and operations.

The HFRM RD&A accomplishes these goals by integrating knowledge from a variety of social science disciplines, conducting studies, and linking managers with science relevant to individual and organizational health, safety, and performance. The RD&A also advances training and leadership development programs and opportunities for agency personnel to promote these goals.

For more information, visit HFRM RD&A.

UI and UM programs receive AFE academic certification

Two partnering institutions with the Northern Rockies FIre Science Network, the University of Idaho and University of Montana, recently received academic certification by the Association of Fire Ecology (AFE) for their wildland fire science programs. The AFE has this to say about the certification program: "The complexity and importance of wildland fire science, management, and decision-making is at an all-time high across our Nation and worldwide. To meet current and future challenges of workforce development, analysis, and sound decision-making, AFE has developed a process for recognizing academic programs which prepare future fire professionals. Our overarching goal is to support fire ecology and ecologically-based fire management while advancing fire science and its application."

Find out more about the UI and UM programs:

Oct 29
Predicting long-term wildfire effects across complex landscapes

Fire on the mountain: What motivates homeowners to reduce their wildfire risk?
(see page bottom for details)

Aspen regeneration

Nov 6
Planning large scale burns


Nov 12-16
Backyards & Beyond - Wildland Fire Education Conference
Salt Lake City, UT

May 19-23, 2014
Large Wildland Fires Conference
Missoula, MT


Foliar moisture content variations in lodgepole pine over the diurnal cycle during the red stage of mountain pine beetle attack

Interactions among the mountain pine beetle, fires, and fuels

Prescribed fire in North American forests and woodlands: history, current practice, and challenges

Prescribed burning in fire-prone landscapes (ESA Special Issue)

Pre-wildfire fuel reduction treatments result in more resilient forest structure a decade after wildfire

Fuel treatments and fire severity: A meta-analysis


The merits of prescribed fire outweigh potential carbon emission effects

Is spatial heterogeneity of burn severity changing with warming climate and increasing wildfire?

Interactions of insects, fire and climate on fuel loads and fire behavior in mixed conifer forest

Bark beetles, fuels and future fire hazard in contrasting conifer forests of Greater Yellowstone

A land manager's guide for creating fire-resistant forests

Overcoming barriers to firewise actions by residents


Seeing red: New tools for mapping and understanding fire severity

Fire on the mountain: What motivates homeowners to reduce their wildlife risk?

Do carbon offsets work? The role of forest management in greenhouse gas mitigation

Climate change tipping points: A point of no return?

Into the wildfire: What science is learning about fire and how to live with it


Tribal Climate Change

Land Treatment Digital Library


Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity

We'd like to hear your suggestions, ideas, and questions!

Vita Wright, Principal Investigator  |  406.396.5374
US Forest Service, 650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, Montana 59937

Mary McFadzen, Coordinator 
|  406.994.2388
Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana 59717

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