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November Newsletter

California Fire Science Consortium

In this newsletter:

New brief: Prescribed fire needs and challenges in North America

Prescribed fire: Needs and challenges in North America

"Prescribed fire and managed wildfires hold tremendous promise as land management tools, but there are many impediments to their widespread implementation. Social and political constraints, rather than ecological rationales, often determine decisions regarding when, where, and how prescribed burns occur."

This brief refers this paper, which is open access:
Ryan, K. C., Knapp, E. E., & Varner, J. M. 2013. Prescribed fire in North American forests and woodlands: history, current practice, and challenges. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11(s1), e15-e24. Article full text (pdf)

Prescribed fire ignition patterns in Klamath National Forest, California. Ignition patterns can influence fire effects. Photo: Carl Skinner

Extended 2014 JFSP Funding Opportunity Notice

The Joint Fire Science Program funding notice for FY2014 still open, and has been extended through December 11th. You can view and apply for funding at the JFSP website.

Primary Funding Opportunity Topics
  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 Funding Opportunity
  1. Fire-adapted communities
  2. Risk perception

WUI Webinar: NIST Firebrand Generator

The CFSC will be restarting our ongoing Wildland-Urban Interface webinar series with a presentation by Dr. Sam Manzello of the National Institute for Standards and Technology on November 21st at 11am. His presentation is titled "Experimentally Simulating Wind-Driven Firebrand Showers in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires," and will focus on research efforts to determine specific fire risks to WUI homes using a firebrand-generating device here. Read about the device and the study here.

Description: Wind-driven firebrand showers are a major cause of structural ignition in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires. To address this problem, a new firebrand research area targeted on quantifying structure vulnerabilities to wind-driven firebrand showers has been developed. This type of firebrand research has never possible prior to the development of the NIST Firebrand Generator, also referred to as the NIST Dragon. Due the complexity of the WUI fire problem, great strides must be made to recruit the next generation of researchers to fire safety science from diverse backgrounds. This presentation closes with a discussion of ongoing workshop activities intended to achieve this, as well as some challenges for future WUI research.

Webinar Registration

Photo: NIST

Southern Sierra Prescribed Fire Council Meeting

Save the Date - November 5-6, Clovis CA

Registration for the inaugural meeting of the Southern Sierra Prescribed Fire Council (SSPFC) is open - if you're planning on attending, please sign up if you haven't yet. Registration is free, follow this link below to sign up.

The meeting will feature talks from the fire management, air quality, research, and outreach fields. The morning session on the 5th will focus on this year’s Rim Fire in Yosemite and its implications for future land management and air quality. Two interactive panels will address air quality policy and inter-agency/tribal collaboration. Following the conference-style meeting on the 5th, there will be a visit to prescribed fire treatment sites in Sequoia National Park for a two-thirds day field tour with Park Service staff on the 6th.

Register here
Meeting flier  -  Agenda  -   Location  -   Lodging
SSPFC Website

NorCal Prescribed Fire Council Meeting

Save the Date - December 5-6 in Redding, CA

This meeting will focus on a central theme of prescribed fire and oak woodlands, wildlife, and habitat, and it will include our usual 2 days of fun and interesting events: a full-day meeting with research and management presentations, an evening social with good food and drink, and a field tour guided by local land managers and scientists.

More information will be at once available. Registration should be open in the next week or so.

Participants in the field at the NorCal Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX). Photo: Jeremy Bailey

Fire news and other updates

CFSC-Sierra coordinator Eric Winford wrote this blog post about the Boulder Prescribed Burn, which has been delayed until 2014 but will be one of the largest prescribed fires in CA, and the need for increased landscape-scale fire treatments in the Sierra Nevada.

The Northern California Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) has been happening for the last two weeks. Watch local news coverage here.

The National Forest Foundation has published the Roadmap for Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA Process to help "identify opportunities and present techniques" for improved collaboration around the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The long article "Looking Back: Firestorm on the Rivers" in the Two Rivers Tribune describes residents' and fire teams' experiences in the Dance and Salmon wildfires - including some interesting coverage of how tribal heritage sites were prioritized and the local Fire Safe Council's advocacy work for prescribed fire.

New research

Long-term overstory and understory change following logging and fire exclusion in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. Research article.
"The proportion of pine dropped from 37% of tree basal area in 1929 to 21% in 2007/08. Density of small to intermediate sized trees was similar in the contemporary logged and unlogged control plots, suggesting that over the long term, ingrowth may have been influenced more by lack of fire than historical logging."

Wildfire smoke and health impacts: A closer look at fire attributes and their marginal effects. Research article.
"As expected, the marginal impact per acre burned generally diminishes with distance and for fires with lighter fuel loads. Our results also highlight the importance of allowing for temporal lags between fire occurrence and pollutant levels."

Development and Evaluation of an Air Quality Model for Predicting the Impacts of Prescribed Burns. Research article.
"A modeling system has been developed to predict accurately the downwind air quality impacts of prescribed burns. The system has been evaluated in applications to monitored burns and a long-range smoke event detected by the regional PM2.5 monitoring network in Southeastern USA."

Natural forest floor clearings around trees in Jeffrey pine forests reduce tree damage and mortality following wildfire. Research article.
"Logistic regression models show that clearing size, specifically the percentage of tree bole surrounded by a clearing, is an important predictor of Jeffrey pine survivorship in low to moderate severity fires, but clearing measures have never been included in previously published assessments of tree survival."

Assessing fire effects on forest spatial structure using a fusion of Landsat and airborne LiDAR data in Yosemite National Park. Research article.
"As fire severity increased, the total area in canopy decreased while the number of clumps increased, creating a patchwork of openings and multistory tree clumps. The presence of openings > 0.3 ha, an approximate minimum gap size needed to favor shade-intolerant pine regeneration, increased rapidly with loss of canopy area."

Prescribed fire effects on field-derived and simulated forest carbon stocks over time. Research article.
"Total biomass carbon (sum of all the pools) was significantly lower 1 year post-treatment than pre-treatment and returned to 97% of pre-treatment levels by 8 year post-treatment primarily from increases in the tree carbon pool. Prescribed fire reduced predicted wildfire emissions by 45% the first year after treatment and remained reduced through 8 year post-treatment (34%)."

An assessment of fisher (Pekania pennanti) tolerance to forest management intensity on the landscape. Research article.
"Our work suggests that it may be possible to implement restorative treatments at an extent and rate that achieves fire modeling goals and does not affect occupancy by fishers. Implementation of such an approach, however, should also consider protection of large trees (conifers and hardwoods) used as resting and denning sites and account for the maintenance of habitat connectivity."

Habitat Use of Pacific Fishers in a Heterogeneous Post-Fire and Unburned Forest Landscape on the Kern Plateau, Sierra Nevada, California. Research article.
"Fishers used dense, mature/old forest that experienced  moderate/high-severity fire at the same level as unburned dense, mature/old forest, and both males and females were found deep inside large fires—several km from the fire perimeter. These results indicate that fishers may benefit from the structural complexity of such post-fire habitat for foraging."

Holocene and historical vegetation change and fire history on the north-central coast of California, USA. Research article.
"The Glenmire record thus documents changing fire use following the AD 1793 fire suppression proclamation; declines in native forest species; introductions of non-native species, including those associated with livestock grazing and land disturbance; and an increase in coprophilous fungi associated with the presence of large numbers of sheep and cattle, among other changes."

FUEGO—Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit—A Proposed Early-Warning Fire Detection System. Research article.
"Here, we propose the framework for a geosynchronous satellite with modern imaging detectors, software, and algorithms able to detect heat from early and small fires, and yield minute-scale detection times."


Upcoming Webinars and Events

Southern Sierra Prescribed Fire Council Meeting
November 5th - 6th, Clovis, CA

The Ecology and Management of Medusahead and Barb Goatgrass on California Rangeland
UC Cooperative Extension
November 5th, Browns Valley, CA

Legacy Wood: How to recognize an important archeological resource
Forest Guild
Webinar, November 6th, 11am PST

FireScape Mendocino Workshop
November 6th - 7th, Stonyford, CA

Fire Legacy's role in current and future fire management in the Southwestern U.S.
Southwest Fire Science Consortium
Webinar, November 12th, 11am PST

Conference: Backyards and Beyond Wildland Fire Education
National Fire Protection Association
November 14th - 16th, Salt Lake City, UT

Experimentally Simulating Wind-Driven Firebrand Showers in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires
California Fire Science Consortium
Webinar, November 21st, 11am PST

The Role of Fire in Shortgrass Rangelands
Southwest Fire Science Consortium
Webinar, November 21st 12pm PST

Northern California Prescribed Fire Council Meeting
December 5th - 6th, Redding, CA

Designing, Improving, & Maintaining Rural Roads Workshop
UC Cooperative Extension
December 13th, Jamestown, CA
Research topics
JFSP Twitter
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CFSC Twitter Feed

MT Stanford research shows Aboriginal hunting practice using fire increases animal populations

RT Some have been able to sustain cultural burns here, in Australia, and elsewhere:

RT 70 days, 402 square miles, 3rd largest Calif wildfire, largest in Sierra work continues

USFS webinar today at 10am PT: Predicting long-term wildfire effects across complex landscapes w/ satellite data

So Sierra Council meeting next week - lots of great presentations on fire, smoke, messaging, and collabs

on the fronts:

RT S Sierra Pres.Fire Council meeting looks interesting.Yosemite, air quality, agengy/tribal work. 11/5-6

Friday Flash: Policy recommendations in a changing climate via

So. Sierra Council meeting Nov 5-6: Rim Fire ecology & smoke, air quality policy, and more. Free!

Check out our 26 recorded webinars, now organized by topic -

Hear from 40+ years of prescribed burning experience in the Southeast - 10am PT (now!) webinar …

10am PT webinar: burning techniques and lessons learned - from the So. East US

RT Before & after RT affords an opportunity for interdisciplinary Study

"Fairly strong indication that cntmprry stand replacing fire is outside historical range variability" via
Joint Fire Science Program Funding Opportunity Notice closing date has been extended to Dec 11, 2013

RT @SEFireScience: Researchers: Did you see the JFSP 2013 funding opportunities?

We'll be giving SAF continuing education credits for our upcoming WUI webinars -

RT @UCsierraforest “I think the stakes are so high that, for me, it’s almost unimaginable that we don’t change course.” Rim Fire lessons

RT Great article featuring the work of Scott Stephens, former AFE board president.

Useful: "A Roadmap for Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA Process" via

New research: 8 years after NorCal , forest carbon returns and wildfire risk is still lower than before

Some research re salvage logging in the West and CA, but we need more info &

An area of sci uncertainty... "Enviro overreaction to salvage logging in the Rim Fire area?" via

Many upcoming webinars out of the southeast US - continuing education credits available

Webinar thrs 10am PT: A New Tool to Support Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA Process

Great map showing existing WUI development in western US - potential for better fire planning: via

MT : Webinar: New Tool to Support Collaboration Before/During/After NEPA Process 10/10 11am MDT

"Policy focused on fire suppression only delays the inevitable" - short piece in today's Science

FireScape Mendocino - first public, collaborative workshop Nov 6-7. Flier:

October News from - Research funding, new WUI webinar+brief, council mtngs & more

RT @nature_LANDFIRE Love the interactive map . Reminds of our WHAM! interactive app map

MT : fx on the ground- "We're going to see a bigger one than this at some point."

RT @ USFS Fire-California: Preparing for "Boulder" prescribed fire on the Background

Just updated our CA map: new research briefs and papers plotted across the state:

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