USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 732-7800

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Newsletter Archive | News Flash Archive



ArrowDr. Morgan Varner Leads the FERA Team
FERA is very pleased to announce that Dr. J. Morgan Varner is our new team leader. Morgan, a research biological scientist, joins FERA after 12 years on the faculty at Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, and Humboldt State University. His interests in prescribed fire and its relationship to ecosystem restoration/disturbance align well with those of other team members. He has written many papers, worked with dozens of graduate students, and is an associate editor for the journals Forest Science, Fire Ecology, and International Journal of Wildland Fire. Please help us welcome him!



ArrowClint Wright Leaves FERA to Pursue Other Interests
Dr. Clinton S. Wright, a member of the FERA team for over 20 years, resigned from the Forest Service in January and plans to explore some of his hobbies and public service interests into the future. Clint joined the field crew in 1994 then became a forester in 1997 and a research forester in 2001. Most recently he served as acting team leader. He is currently a research forester emeritis.


ArrowFASMEE in Its First Phase

Several months ago, we shared with readers a few details about the large research project, FASMEE (Fire and Smoke Modeling and Evaluation Experiment).  The project is separated into two phases.  Phase I is the development of a study plan.  Phase II will be the field operation, data collection, and data analysis.  Leaders for each research discipline have been selected and will meet in early April to draft the study plan and the Funding Opportunity Notice (FON) for the field data collection teams. Possible sites for research burns in the western United States including Fishlake National Forest (Utah), Kaibab National Forest (Arizona), and Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona). Research sites in the southeast including Fort Stewart (U.S. Army) and Savannah River Site (Department of Energy), both in Georgia.  Site visits are scheduled for the weeks of May 2 and July 11.    

We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project JFSP 15-S-01-01, and from the U.S. Department of Defense, Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP).


ArrowInternational Association of Wildland Fire in Portland

FERA hopes to visit with those of you attending the 5th International Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference (IAWF) meeting in Portland, Oregon the week of April 11th

In addition to the workshop noted below, Roger Ottmar will give a presentation on the usefulness of average emission factors in evaluating the effectiveness of emission reduction techniques, and offer both a presentation and poster on Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE). Morgan Varner will give a presentation on the flammability of pines and co-present posters and talks from fire research in California and Florida.

Finally, look for publications, products, and other applicable research products in the Forest Service fire research exhibit booth.



ArrowWorkshop in Portland Focuses on Application of Fuel and Fire Tools (FFT)

Roger Ottmar will join University of Washington collaborator Susan Prichard to present a pre-conference workshop “Fuel and Fire Tools (FFT)—An Application for Wildland Fuel and Fire Management Planning”. This training is being offered on April 11th, in conjunction with the upcoming International Association of Wildland Fire meeting in Portland, Oregon.



ArrowFundamental Measurements and Modeling of Prescribed Fire Behavior in Naturally Heterogeneous Fuel Beds of Southern Pine Forests

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently funded research to improve the likelihood that prescribed fire application will accomplish desired fire effects and limit potential escapes. It will provide fundamental information about pyrolysis and pyrolysis products of live and dead fuels and how they are affected by heat transfer mechanisms from the flame to the shrub layer in fuel types typically burned with prescribed fire in Southern forests managed by the DoD. FERA’s Roger Ottmar is a co-principal investigator on this project lead by David Weise of the Pacific Southwest Research Station.  



ArrowPWFSL Hosts Forest Vegetation Simulator Training

Twenty-eight students gathered earlier this month at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory to learn the concepts of vegetation growth and yield modeling using the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS).
Morris Johnson, a member of the FVS Steering Team, hosted this event, and students represented the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region; National Advanced Silviculture Program; U.S. Bureau of Land Management; and Bureau of Indian Affairs.



ArrowNew Website Delayed

Eagerly-anticipated improvements to the FERA website have been postponed while approval is being sought for some advanced features. This could take a year or more, so the current FERA website will limp along for the foreseeable future.



ArrowPapers from the RxCADRE Interdisciplinary Fire Study Special Issue in International Journal of Wildland Fire

This special issue documents a landmark study, “Results from the Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Experiment (RxCADRE)”. Eleven papers discussing the results of this research can be found in a special issue of the International Journal of Wildland Fire. FERA’s Roger Ottmar, one of the key organizers of the experiments, contributed to each of the 5 papers below. We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project 11-2-1-11.

Measurements, Datasets and Preliminary Results from the RxCADRE Project—2008, 2011, 2012


Pre- and Post-Fire Surface Fuel and Cover Measurements Collected in the Southeastern United States for Model Evaluation and Development—RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012


Measurements Relating Fire Radiative Energy Density and Surface Fuel Consumption—RxCADRE 2011 and 2012


Development and Validation of Fuel Height Models for Terrestrial Lidar—RxCADRE 2012


High-Resolution Infrared Thermography for Capturing Wildland Fire Behavior—RxCADRE 2012


ArrowEvaluating Crown Fire Rate of Spread Predictions from Physics-Based Models

A published set of field-scale measured crown fire rate of spread (ROS) data was used to provide a coarse assessment of crown fire rate-of-spread predictions from previously published studies that have utilized WFDS or FIRETEC. Overall, 86% of all simulated ROS values using WFDS or FIRETEC fell within the 95% prediction interval of the empirical data, which was above the goal of 75% for dynamic ecological modeling. However, scarcity of available empirical data is a bottleneck for further assessment of model performance. We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project 13-1-04-53.


Arrow2011 Wildland Urban Interface Amarillo Fires Report—Assessment of Future Behavior and WUI Measurement Science

A new report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) describes how researchers analyzed a major 2011 Texas wildland fire using a rigorous and scientifically based post-fire data collection approach, a system they believe will lead to improved defensive measures and strategies for significantly reducing structural damage and property loss.

The report is a follow-up to Maranghides and Mell’s “Framework for Addressing the National Wildland Urban Interface Fire Problem--Determining Fire and Ember Exposure Zones Using a WUI Hazard Scale” (2013).



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