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



Photo Series Used in San Francisco’s East Bay Area

Basic fuels concepts and conducting a fuels inventory using the photo series was well received at two training sessions offered this past June by the Hills Emergency Forum and the East Bay Regional Park District on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. The introduction was followed by about an hour in the field inventorying the fuels in a nearby eucalyptus stand.

Thirty people participated from agencies across the region, including local fire departments, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Lawrence Livermore Lab (DOE), City of Oakland, East Bay Regional Park District park managers and resource specialists, and CalFire. Participants received the East Bay photo series, abridged copies of the Oregon and California oak, and the Southern California chaparral photo series, and a pocket stereoscope.

Browse the Digital Photo Series website:


Monitoring Wildfires to Evaluate Effectiveness of Previous Fuel Treatments

The Carlton Complex Fire (north-central Washington) and the Bald Fire (northern California) have offered FERA’s Morris Johnson excellent opportunities to get first-hand information about the degree to which fuel treatments affect fire behavior during wildfires.  He has been at both fires gathering information to help the local forests assess fuel treatment effectiveness.


arrowFirst Data Sets from RxCADRE Project Posted Online

Data collected from the 2012 RxCADRE experiment is starting to appear on the online U.S Forest Service Research Data Archive. Airborne measurements of smoke emission and dispersion from prescribed fires (Urbanski) are available now. It may take several years for all of the data to become public, but eventually all the data sets will be freely available to researchers and students around the world.

Archive [.html]

Link to Urbanski Data [.html]

arrowFighting Wildfire with Satellites, Lasers, and Drones

FERA’s Roger Ottmar was featured in an article in the Daily Beast on the use of remote sensing techniques in wildland fire research and firefighting.

The Daily Beast is an online news reporting and opinion website.




Climate, Fire Size, and Biophysical Setting Control Fire Severity and Spatial Pattern in the northern Cascade Range, USA

Satellite data and field plots from the northern Cascade Range were used to show how climate and fire size affected the severity and spatial pattern of wildfires in recent decades. If fire sizes increase in a warming climate, changes in the extent, severity, and spatial pattern of fire regimes are likely to be more pronounced in mountain ecosystems with less complex topography and more continuous fuels.

This work by University of Washington cooperator Alina Cansler and FERA team member Don McKenzie was published is the journal Ecological Applications.

Development and Mapping of Fuel Characteristics and Associated Fire Potentials for South America

Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) fuelbeds and associated fire potentials were mapped across South American by Lucrecia Pettinari of the University of Alcala, Spain with assistance from FERA's Roger Ottmar. Lucrecia visited the Pacific Wildland Fire Science Lab for 2 months in 2011. Remotely-sensed data and additional fuelbed characteristics were used to make a geospatial landcover map combined with a biome map. This map could be used to assess fire hazard, predict fire behavior, or calculate fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The International Journal of Wildland Fire published this paper.

FERA Assists in Critical New Wildland Firefighter Safety Zone Research

Computer simulations of heat flux from the physics-based fire behavior model WFDS (Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator), developed by FERA's Ruddy Mell in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, contributed to recent research on firefighter safety zones. This research was conducted by Bret Butler and Russ Parsons at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory and led to a modification of rule-based firefighter safety zones.

This work was highlighted by the Joint Fire Science Program as part of their e-mailed Friday Flash News on July 11, 2014 (issue 96). These findings can be used to provide an extra margin of safety for all wildland fire personnel.


arrowProceedings Papers from the 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference

FERA scientists served as authors on three papers in the newly-released proceedings of the 2013 fire conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, that are now available as part of an electronic publication of the proceedings.

  • A US National Fuels Database and Map for Calculating Carbon Emissions from Wildland and Prescribed Fire (French et al.)
  • Ground Measurements of Fuel and Fuel Consumption from Experimental and Operational Prescribed Fires at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida (Ottmar et al.)
  • Relationship of Post-Fire Ground Cover to Surface Fuel Loads and Consumption in Longleaf Pine Ecosystems (Hudak et al.)



None scheduled at this time.


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