USDA Forest Service
 

Logo of the FERA research teamFire 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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News 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. (August 2014)

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. (August 2014)

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. (August 2014)

First 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. (August 2014)

http://www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/

Link to Urbanski Data
http://www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/Product/RDS-2014-0015/

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. (August 2014)

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. (August 2014)

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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.)(August 2014)

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. (August 2014)

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Fighting 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.(August 2014)

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Sharing Forest Service Fire Research with Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction

Roger Ottmar gave an overview of U.S. Forest Service fuel and smoke research to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Disaster Reduction Subcommittee (Wildland Fire Science and Technology Task Force) meeting in Washington D.C. this past week.  He also highlighted science transfer activities and current research gaps. His presentation, along with presentations by other Forest Service scientists, provided the task force with information to facilitate better coordination and cooperation between the Federal agencies with wildland fire management responsibilities.   

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arrowAssessing Factors That Influences Landscape Fuels Treatment Effectiveness

FERA’s Ruddy Mell will join with Prof. Chad Hoffman at Colorado State University to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that influence the effectiveness of landscape fuel treatments. For example, model-based studies of wildland fuel treatments on landscapes have neglected the influence of fire-atmosphere coupling and near-field wind flow on fire behavior. By using a number of different fire modeling approaches, this work will characterize the influence of topography, atmospheric conditions, and fire on optimal fuel treatment design.

Funding for this project is being provided by the Joint Fire Science Program project #14-1-01-18.

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arrowFuel Treatments and Landform Modify Landscape Patterns of Burn Severity in an Extreme Fire Event

Under a rapidly warming climate, a critical management issue in semiarid forests of western North America is how to increase forest resilience to wildfire. Susan Prichard and Maureen Kennedy, FERA cooperators at the University of Washington, evaluated relationships between fuel reduction treatments and burn severity in the 2006 Tripod Complex fires in Washington State and published their research results in the journal Ecological Applications.

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arrowFFT Demonstrated to State of Oregon Department of Forestry

Roger Ottmar and Susan Prichard met with Nick Yonkers, meteorology manager for the Oregon State Department of Forestry to demonstrate the Fuel and Fire Tools software application—a tool that can be used to improve smoke management planning and permitting. Also discussed was a project to sample specific fuelbed components on two spring prescribed fires that generated smoke that impacted Bend, Oregon. Information from this project will help prescribed fire practitioners understand which fuelbed components are likely to cause the greatest air quality impacts and suggest approaches to mitigate their negative effects

arrowNew Software Combines FCCS, Consume, and FEPS

The Fuel and Fire Tools, or FFT, is now available for users to download and use for their fuels, fire, or carbon planning projects. It is a combination of older programs that have all been significantly improved, both scientifically and technically. For example, it incorporates new consumption equations built on data from the many fuel consumption studies FERA has completed during the past 10 years. (June 2014)

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arrowSmoke Consequences of New Wildfire Regimes Driven by Climate Change

Various lines of evidence suggest that smoke from wildfires in the future may be more intense and widespread, demanding that methods be developed to address its effects on people, ecosystems, and the atmosphere. The authors, led by FERA's Don McKenzie, present the essential ingredients of a modeling system for projecting smoke consequences, describe each component of the system, offer suggestions for the elements of a modeling agenda, and provide some general guidelines for making choices among potential components. (June 2014)

Funding for this paper, published in Earth's Future, was provided by the Joint Fire Science Program project #12-S-01-2.

Paper—
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000180/abstract

Webinar—
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW1JCoOfirE&feature=youtu.be

arrowEvaluation of CONSUME and FOFEM Fuel Consumption Models in Pine and Mixed Hardwood Forests of the Eastern United States

Reliable predictions of fuel consumption are critical in the eastern United States, where prescribed burning is widespread and air quality is of increasing concern.
This study, reported in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, assessed the uncertainties and application limits for the fuel consumption and emissions prediction models CONSUME and FOFEM (First Order Fire Effects Model). Overall, FOFEM predictions had narrower regions of indifference than CONSUME suggesting better correspondence between measured and predicted consumption. Both models were found to offer reliable consumption predictions for live fuels, but for woody fuel, litter, and duff consumption predictions could be improved for eastern U.S. forests.

FERA's Susan Prichard, Roger Ottmar, Maureen Kennedy, Jim Cronan, and Clint Wright joined the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Eva Karau and Bob Keane in this endeavor. Funding was provided by the Joint Fire Science Program project #08-1-6-01. (June 2014)

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arrowEvaluation of Past-Fire Mosaics on Subsequent Wildfire Behavior, Severity and Management Strategies

This new study will evaluate the influence of past wildfires on subsequent fire behavior, fire severity, and management responses in high-severity fire regimes in three montane forest landscapes across the inland Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Resarchers will analyze fire spread and severity in recent reburns of landscape burn scars, simulate predicted fire spread across landscapes, sample fire management strategies, and offer examples of strategic responses developed in the Wildland Fire Decision Support System that incorporate landscape mosaics created by past wildfires.

Principle investigators are Susan Prichard (FERA), Penny Morgan (University of Idaho), Paul Hessburg (PNW), Richy Harrod (Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest), and Bob Gray (R.W. Gray Consulting, Ltd.) This project is funded by the Joint Fire Science Project #13-1-02-30. (June 2014)

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Sharing Forest Service Fire Research with Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction

Roger Ottmar gave an overview of U.S. Forest Service fuel and smoke research to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Disaster Reduction Subcommittee (Wildland Fire Science and Technology Task Force) meeting in Washington D.C. this past week.  He also highlighted science transfer activities and current research gaps. His presentation, along with presentations by other Forest Service scientists, provided the task force with information to facilitate better coordination and cooperation between the Federal agencies with wildland fire management responsibilities. (June 2014) 

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arrowAssessing Factors That Influences Landscape Fuels Treatment Effectiveness

FERA’s Ruddy Mell will join with Prof. Chad Hoffman at Colorado State University to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that influence the effectiveness of landscape fuel treatments. For example, model-based studies of wildland fuel treatments on landscapes have neglected the influence of fire-atmosphere coupling and near-field wind flow on fire behavior. By using a number of different fire modeling approaches, this work will characterize the influence of topography, atmospheric conditions, and fire on optimal fuel treatment design.

Funding for this project is being provided by the Joint Fire Science Program project #14-1-01-18. (June 2014)

More

arrowFuel Treatments and Landform Modify Landscape Patterns of Burn Severity in an Extreme Fire Event

Under a rapidly warming climate, a critical management issue in semiarid forests of western North America is how to increase forest resilience to wildfire. Susan Prichard and Maureen Kennedy, FERA cooperators at the University of Washington, evaluated relationships between fuel reduction treatments and burn severity in the 2006 Tripod Complex fires in Washington State and published their research results in the journal Ecological Applications. (June 2014)

More

arrowFFT Demonstrated to State of Oregon Department of Forestry

Roger Ottmar and Susan Prichard met with Nick Yonkers, meteorology manager for the Oregon State Department of Forestry to demonstrate the Fuel and Fire Tools software application—a tool that can be used to improve smoke management planning and permitting. Also discussed was a project to sample specific fuelbed components on two spring prescribed fires that generated smoke that impacted Bend, Oregon. Information from this project will help prescribed fire practitioners understand which fuelbed components are likely to cause the greatest air quality impacts and suggest approaches to mitigate their negative effects. (June 2014)

arrowDocumentation of Fire Effects Continues in Colorado
In Colorado Springs, Bob Vihnanek and Joe Restaino continue to conduct thorough technical discussions with the local firefighting first responders. This information will help to reconstruct the timeline of the movement of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire through the city. Insights gained from this Joint Fire Science Program-sponsored fire reconstruction will inform research to evaluate the effectiveness of different fire fighting and mitigation activities in the wildland-urban interface. The work is being led by Alex Maranghides of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (April 2014)

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arrowLearning about Fuels and Consumption in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, FERA’s field crew has been on the job measuring fuel consumption to aid research to relate LIDAR measurements to actual fuels. The Joint Fire Science Program is supporting a research effort led by Nick Skowronski of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station to evaluate and optimize fuel treatments using both experimental data and modeling. (April 2014)

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arrowFire Laboratories Collaborate to Share Research Results at Conference
Attendees at the May 2014 “Large Wildland Fires: Social, Political, and Ecological Effects” meeting in Missoula, MT will find information about fire research efforts featured in a single booth in the exhibitors hall. The Missoula Forest Fire Sciences Lab and the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab will both feature the results of their newest research in the same place. Stop by and visit us!(April 2014)

Find out more

 

arrowDon McKenzie Presented Webinar on Consequences of Future Wildfire Smoke
Smoke from wildfires has adverse biological and social consequences, and various lines of evidence suggest that smoke from wildfires in the future may be more intense and widespread, demanding that methods be developed to address its effects on people, ecosystems, and the atmosphere. Earlier this month, Don McKenzie presented a webinar on the essential ingredients of a modeling system for projecting smoke consequences in a rapidly warming climate that is expected to change wildfire regimes significantly. (April 2014)

It has been archived at
http://wildfirelessons.net/resources/advancesinfirepractice/webinars


The original paper can be found at:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000180/abstract

 

arrowFERA Scientists Contribute Four Articles to “Forest Ecology and Management”

Special Issue of Forest Ecology and Management Focuses on the Connections Among Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate
This special issue highlights the degree of collaboration between Forest Service fire researchers across the country.

Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Modeling Fuel Consumption

Roger Ottmar synthesized the current state of knowledge regarding fuel consumption, factors and variables that influence fuel consumption, systems currently available for predicting fuel consumption, and future direction in research to improve our knowledge and predictive capabilities for estimating greenhouse gases produced from wildfire.(April 2014)

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Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Characterizing Wildland Fuels

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station’s David Weise and Clint Wright synthesized the state of science regarding wildland fuels in the context of greenhouse gas, aerosol, and black carbon emissions. The synthesis examines the science that has been used and is being developed to characterize wildland fuels. (April 2014)

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arrowFire Behavior in Masticated Fuels: A Review
Roger Ottmar joined with collaborators to produce this review of the current literature on fuels and fire behavior following mastication of forest fuels. They highlight the variation of fire behavior across ecosystems, and identify key science needs to better explain fire behavior and effects in masticated fuelbeds.(April 2014)

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arrowFuel Treatment Prescriptions Alter Spatial Patterns of Wildland Severity around the Wildland-Urban Interface During the Wallow Fire, Arizona, USA.
Maureen Kennedy and Morris Johnson examined the spatial pattern of fire severity as the Wallow Fire moved from wildland fuels into treated fuels. All fuel treatments demonstrated reduced fire severity, demonstrating that there are multiple paths to fuel treatment design around the wildland-urban interface.(April 2014)

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arrowFuel Characteristic Classification System Version 3.0: Technical Documentation

If you’ve ever wanted to look “under the hood” of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) to see what and how it calculates fuel characteristics, wait no more. This general technical report provides detail on the calculation of the characteristics, surface fire behavior results, and each of the potentials. Dr. Susan Prichard led the team that compiled the many variables and equations. (April 2014)

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arrowComparing Algorithms for Estimating Foliar Biomass of Conifers in the Pacific Northwest

Crystal Raymond and FERA author Don McKenzie compared five algorithms for estimating foliar biomass (FB) for seven common coniferous species in the Pacific Northwest. Algorithms based on diameter at breast height (DBH), or on DBH and height, consistently yield higher estimates of FB than algorithms based on sapwood area. At the tree level, differences between algorithms increased with increasing DBH for all species, but their order and magnitude differed by species. At the stand level, differences among algorithms were muted by the mix of species and diameter classes that contributed to total FB of stands of different seral stages and species composition. Significant differences among estimates of FB from different algorithms show the need for consistent methods for estimating FB for carbon accounting, tests of the sensitivity of ecosystem models to these differences, and more field observations to compare algorithms. (April 2014)

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arrowField Experiments in Fire Behavior Move to Texas

FERA’s involvement in prescribed research fires continued this week with a small but well-documented series of prescribed fires in grass fuels on the Texas National Guard’s Camp Swift adjacent to Bastrop, Texas. FERA was joined by colleagues from the Texas Forest Service, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Colorado State University and San Diego State University. The main focus was to gather field data with which to validate fire behaviour models; secondary research was conducted to assess the effectiveness of fuel breaks in stopping the spread of the fire. Additional research fires, in higher wind speeds, are planned for March.

The adjacent community of Bastrop was the site of 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire, the most destructive in Texas history, burning 1,673 homes and costing $325 million of insured property damage. Both NIST and the Joint Fire Science Program were major financiers of this project. (January 2014)

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arrowSummit Fire Research Finds Treatment Effects Variable 15 Years Postfire

Long-term effects of fuel treatment and logging in altering future fuel loads in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon (Malheur National Forest) was the subject of a recently-completed Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) research project sponsored by FERA’s Roger Ottmar in collaboration with Jim McIver of Oregon State University.


Data collected and analyzed during the 1996 Summit Fire study indicate, among other findings, that: in 2012 snag density remained higher in stands without post-fire logging; initial differences in slash fuel loading among treatments had disappeared after 13 years; and snag, regeneration, and fuel conditions did not differ between logged and unlogged study sites that were subsequently re-burned by a wildfire. Dramatic reductions in snag density, fuel loading, and tree regeneration were observed across all treatments following the 2008 Sunshine Fire that burned one of the four experimental blocks from the original study.  Thus, in this case, postfire logging did not change the effects of wildfire for the developing stand.(January 2014)

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arrowRxCADRE Experiment Featured in Fire Science Digest

The Joint Fire Science Program features the RxCADRE prescribed research burns in this exceptional digest which describes the purpose, experiment, outcomes, and potential future implications for basic fire and smoke research. Photos and graphics supplement explanations of the data gathered and research conducted. (January 2014)

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arrowFuel Characteristic Classification System Version 3.0: Technical Documentation

If you’ve ever wanted to look “under the hood” of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) to see what and how it calculates fuel characteristics, wait no more. This general technical report provides detail on the calculation of the characteristics, surface fire behaviour results, and each of the potentials. Dr. Susan Prichard led the team that compiled the many variables and equations. (January 2014)

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arrowLeadership in Transition
As of January 1, 2014, FERA’s team leader David L. Peterson stepped aside to take another Forest Service position, and research forester Clint Wright took on those duties until a new team leader can be appointed. Dave is pleased to be working at a national level guiding groups of national forests as they adjust their planning goals to consider climate change.  (January 2014)

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arrowClimate Change and United States Forests
This new book, edited by three Forest Service researchers, had its genesis in an earlier science synthesis on effects of climatic variability and change on U.S. forest ecosystems. FERA’s Dave Peterson joined with Drs. Jim Vose and Toral Patel-Weynand to add to the series Advances in Global Change Research, now available as an e-book and in hardcover. (January 2014)

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arrowReport in Preparation on Fuel Treatment Effectiveness in Area Burned by California’s Rim Fire

FERA’s Morris Johnson spent more than 30 days this summer on the 2013 Rim Fire, third largest wildfire in California's history, collecting data for the US Forest Service National Fuel Treatment Effectiveness Monitoring (FTEM) program. In 2006, FTEM was established to evaluate the effectiveness of prescribed fire and mechanical treatments designed to reduce the risk of wildfire. When a wildfire starts within or burns into a fuel treatment area, an assessment is conducted to evaluate the resulting impacts on fire behavior and fire suppression actions. This work verified that the treatments were implemented, and then measured burn severity and mortality in each treated stand. The final report will be available in early March 2014. (November 2013)

Preliminary report

Los Angeles Times article

arrowDon McKenzie Chairs Wildfire Session at American Geophysical Union

Don McKenzie chairs the session "Climate Change and Wildfire: Drivers, Interactions, Consequences" during the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco this December, along with Connie Millar of the PSW Station and the University of Washington's Alina Cansler, a FERA co-operator. This session explores the causes, dynamics, and consequences of fire regimes in mountain landscapes in a warming climate, using theoretical, empirical, and modeling approaches.(November 2013)

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arrowFuel Moisture Influences on Fire-Altered Carbon in Masticated Fuels: an Experimental Study

In this experimental study, 15 masticated fuelbeds, conditioned to three fuel moisture ranges, were burned, and production rates of pyrogenic carbon and soot-based black carbon were evaluated. FERA's Roger Ottmar was one of seven authors of this paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. (November 2013)

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arrowSurface Fire Intensity Influences Simulated Crown Fire Behavior in Lodgepole Pine Forests with Recent Mountain Pine Beetle-Caused Tree Mortality
Data from 11 field sites was used to run the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS) and investigate the effect of beetle-caused tree mortality on simulated crown fire. FERA's Ruddy Mell, a developer of WFDS, joined with Forest Service and university colleagues in preparing this paper in the journal Forest Science.(November 2013)

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arrowEffects of Salvage Logging and Pile-and-Burn on Fuel Loading, Potential Fire Behaviour, Fuel Consumption and Emissions

A combination of field measurements and simulation modeling was used to quantify the effects of salvage logging, and a combination of salvage logging and other fuel treatments on fuel loadings, fire behavior, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions post-windstorm (before salvage logging), post-salvage logging and post-surface fuel treatment (pile-and-burn). Study results illustrate potential differences between the effects of salvage logging after windstorms and the effects of salvage logging after wildfire. FERA’s Morris Johnson and Dave Peterson worked with our partner Jessica Halofsky of the University of Washington.(November 2013)

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arrowTree Growth and Climate in the Pacific Northwest, North America: A Broad-Scale Analysis of Changing Growth Environments

FERA's Dave Peterson joined Whitney Albright, of the University of Washington, to conclude that an altered Pacific Northwest climate will elicit different growth responses from common conifers species within their current distribution. In some cases, an increased snowpack will lengthen the growing season of subalpine fir; in other situations, moisture stress will reduce growth of Douglas-fir.

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arrowTemporal Carbon Dynamics of Forests in Washington, US: Implications for Ecological Theory and Carbon Management

This paper, published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management by FERA’s Don McKenzie and the University of Washington’s Crystal Raymond, uses theoretical models of carbon dynamics as a function of forest age. The observed relationships between the ages at which net primary productivity maximum live biomass are reached for a given forest type suggests that there is a trade-off between managing for maximum live biomass (carbon storage) versus net primary productivity in some forest types but an optional age for C management in others.
 
Crystal is now the strategic advisor for climate adaptation for Seattle City Light, an electrical power utility. (November 2013)

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arrowIntegrated Active Fire Retrievals and Biomass Burning Emissions Using Complementary Near-Coincident Ground, Airborne, and Spaceborne Sensor Data

The journal Remote Sensing and the Environment recently published an analysis of data collected during the September 2012 RxCADRE prescribed burn experiment in Florida. For this paper, FERA’s Roger Ottmar joined with a group of remote sensing specialists to integrate ground-based, airborne, and space borne remote sensing methods. Agreement between airborne and spaceborne data on fire radiative power improved significantly after corrected for omissions errors and atmospheric attenuation, resulting in as low as 5% difference between Aqua/MODIS and AMS. (November 2013)

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Preliminary Research Results Shared with Partners at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

This past June, Roger Ottmar, Clint Wright and Ruddy Mell of FERA and Alex Maranghides of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIS) , conducted an 8-hour workshop at Washington State’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  During the workshop, FERA scientists demonstrated the team’s software, and presented fuel consumption and fire behavior results from three jointly-conducted research burns on the base in September 2012. The workshop was followed by a field trip to visit potential research sites for similar research burns that would also include NIST's unmanned aerial vehicles for fire measurements in 2014. (September 2013)

arrowDave Peterson Discusses Climate Change Adaptation Information with Two Groups in One Day

North Carolina State University’s Extension Program joined with the Southern Research Station to offer an overview of “Effects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: a Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the U.S. Forest Sector” with coauthors Dave Peterson and Jim Vose. Dave Cleaves, FS Washington Office Climate Change Coordinator, also contributed to the 1-hour presentation on April 14th. It was organized by North Carolina State University.

Later that same day, Dave was a featured guest on the June 20th conference call organized by climate change coordinators of national forests in the Pacific Northwest. He used his 20 minutes to provide an overview of the collaborative North Cascadia Adaptation Project.(September 2013)

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arrowSharing Research Results on Fire Models and Their Applications

FERA’s Roger Ottmar will be co-chairing a special session at the International Smoke Symposium, October 21-24, 2013 in Adelphi, Maryland. The session, “State of Fire Behavior Models and Their Application to Ecosystem and Smoke Management,” will feature nine speakers sharing the state-of-the-science in such topic areas as fuels, fire behavior, smoke dispersion, and fire effects. The special session was organized by the interagency Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), the Joint Fire Science Program, and the Core Fire Science Caucus. (September 2013)

Both Roger and Ruddy Mell will be presenting on their work.

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arrow“Northwest Scientists Using Drones to Spy on Nature”

“Once used mostly for surveillance and reconnaissance on the battlefield, small, unmanned aircraft are now fetching data for Northwest scientists” reported Sandi Doughton, science reporter for the Seattle Times. FERA’s Ruddy Mell was interviewed, along with many other UA system users in the Pacific Northwest. (September 2013)

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arrow“Computer Models for Wildland and WUI Fires”

Ruddy Mell, FERA’s combustion engineer, presented general concepts in fire modeling and the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches. Participants at the live webinar were extremely diverse in their geographic location, employers, and work activities. This presentation was sponsored by the Northwest Fire Research Consortium. 53 minutes. (September 2013)

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arrowRecipe for Fire Disaster: Heat, Little Rain, 4th of July Holiday”

Gary Chittim, reporter for a Seattle's NBC affiliate station, KIRO-TV, briefly chats with FERA’s Dave Peterson and others in this short video about forest fire risk and fire danger over the long Independence Day holiday weekend. 2 minutes.(September 2013)

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arrow“Steady by Jerks: Ecosystem Change in a Greenhouse World”

FERA's Dave Peterson was an invited speaker at the California Botanical Society Centennial Symposium "Botanical Frontiers: Past and Future," held in April at the University of California, Berkeley. His presentation explores the role of fire and other ecological disturbances on the structure and function of forest ecosystems in a warmer climate. 41 minutes.(September 2013)

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arrow“How Effective Were Fuel Treatments in the 2011 Wallow Fire?”

FERA’s Dr. Morris Johnson reviewed his research on the effectiveness of fuel treatment in changing fire behavior during the Wallow Fire in 2011. This presentation was sponsored by the Northwest Fire Research Consortium.(September 2013)

arrowTree-species Range Shifts in a Changing Climate—Detecting, Modeling, Assisting

In these times of rapidly changing climate, the science of detecting and modeling shifts in the ranges of tree species is advancing of necessity. Don McKenzie and Louis Iverson briefly review the current state of the science on several fronts and propose long-term demography studies as a complementary approach in the time domain when sufficient data are available.

Dispersal and successful migration into newly suitable habitat are key mechanisms constraining range shifts. We review three approaches to estimating these processes, followed by a discussion of the potential for assisted migration. We conclude that there have been significant recent advances on several fronts but there are still large uncertainties that need further research.

Short Version from the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station

Long Version from the Journal “Landscape Ecology”

 

arrowModels for Predicting Fuel Consumption in Sagebrush-Dominated Ecosystems

In the journal Rangeland Ecology and Management, FERA's Clint Wright offers several empirical equations for predicting shrub and aboveground biomass consumption, and proportion of area burned, for big sagebrush fires. Model predictors include prefire shrub loading, proportion of area burned, and season of burning for shrub fuels. Proportion of area burned, an indicator of patchiness of the fire, was best predicted from the coverage of the herbaceous vegetation layer, wind speed and slope. For spring fires, woody fuel moisture was an important predictor variable. These models predict proportion of area burned and fuel consumption for both spring and fall fires.

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arrowWildfire and Fuel Treatment Effects on Forest Carbon Dynamics in the Western United States

Results of studies on the effects of fuel treatments and wildfires on long-term carbon retention across large landscapes are limited and equivocal. FERA's Joe Restaino and Dave Peterson found that studies at large spatial and temporal scales suggest that there is a low likelihood of high-severity wildfire events interacting with treated forests, negating any expected C benefit from fuels reduction.

The frequency, extent, and severity of wildfire are expected to increase as a result of changing climate, and additional information on C response to management and disturbance scenarios is needed improve the accuracy and usefulness of assessments of fuel treatment and wildfire effects on C dynamics. Results have been published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

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arrowTiming of Fire Relative to Seed Development Controls Availability of Non-Serotinous Aerial Seed Banks

The existence of non-serotinous, non-sprouting species in fire regimes where serotiny confers an adaptive advantage is puzzling. In this research, FERA's Ruddy Mell collaborated with Sean Michaletz (University of of Arizona) and others to gather information from various disciplines and address this puzzle.

White spruce was used to show that the timing of fire relative to seed development can control aerial seed bank availability for non-serotinous species. In physics-based numerical simulations of fire within a stand, approximately 12 percent of cones contained viable seed following a crown fire. Field data in the literature suggest that roughly half of the historical area burned resulted from fires that occurred when closed cones would contain germinable seed. These findings suggest that post-fire recruitment from in situ aerial seed banks can occur for non-serotinous species, and may be an important cause of their existence in fire regimes to which they otherwise seem poorly suited. A discussion version of the paper can be found at the link below. The final version of the paper has been accepted for publication in Biogeosciences. 

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Right arrowQuantifying the Effect of Fuel Reduction Treatments on Fire Behavior in Boreal Forests

FERA's Roger Ottmar and Bob Vihnanek were among the group of collaborators who directly measured fire intensity and energy release in each of four fuel treatments in Alaska’s Interior. The effectiveness of each treatment in changing fire behavior is presented here.

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Right arrowConfederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

This video shows the application of FCCS fuelbeds to fire management planning on Salish and Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. After analysis by University of Washington graduate student and Yakama tribal member Laurel James, tribal managers chose to use FERA's Fuel Characteristic Classification (FCCS) Landfire layer when realizing their previous efforts using the basic Landfire layers were not good enough at this management scale.These new spatial layers are now being used by the SKT for their fire management planning. (May 2013)

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arrowNorthwest Consortium Offers Webinars on FERA Research

The Northwest Fire Science Consortium's Spring 2013 inagural webinars feature FERA scientists sharing their current research into fire and fuels issues which affect us all. (May 2013)

  • “How Effective Were Fuel Treatments in the 2011 Wallow Fire?" on May 23rd by Morris Johnson and Maureen Kennedy
  • "Computer Models of Wildland and Wildland-Urban Interface Fires” presented on June 6th by Ruddy Mell

Presentations begin at 11:00 am Pacific time. No need to preregister; just connct online after 10:45 am at:

http://oregonstate.adobeconnect.com/wallow2011/

 

arrowDiscovery Channel (Canada) Features RxCADRE Burns

The November 2012 research experimental burns in Florida (RxCADRE) were featured by Canada’s Discovery Channel. Their 5-minute video explains the purposes of the project, and includes clips of fire planning, deployment of equipment, and the fire itself. One of the individuals featured is FERA’s Roger Ottmar. [Note: 30 seconds of ads precede the video.](May 2013)

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arrowFCCS Covers Asia! Emission Modeling In Asia Uses Methods Developed at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

In March, the Asian Journal of Atmospheric Environment published “Modeling Emissions from Open Biomass Burning in Asia Using the BlueSky Framework” by Choi and others. This framework and its submodels—Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS), CONSUME, and the Emissions Production Model (EPM)—were developed at the Pacific Wildland Fire Science Lab by the FERA and AirFIRE teams.

We maintain an informal and incomplete list of independent uses of the system on the FCCS “Applications” webpage, and would love to hear from others who have used FCCS either for their research or as an aid in making land and air quality management decisions. (May 2013)

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arrowNIST and Forest Service Create World’s First Hazard Scale for Wildland-Urban Interface Fires

The Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) featured the joint Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS) as one its greatest successes in the past few months. It is being called it the world’s first hazard scale for wildland fires that will accurately assess risk and allow communities to better resist the threat of fire through improved building codes, standards and practices. This line of research is directed by FERA’s Ruddy Mell in partnership with several research institutions, state governments, and local governments. (May 2013)

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arrowRuddy Mell Featured Speaker at Fire Conference in Russia

The FERA team is proud to announce that Ruddy Mell, combustion engineer with the team, will be a featured speaker at the 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia, this coming July. He joins this elite group of speakers from Russia, Portugal, and the United States.

His talk, “Computer Modeling of Wildland and Wildland-Urban Interface Fires”, will offer an overview of current fire behavior models with an emphasis on physics-based models, their strengths and limitations. In particular, the potential use of physics-based fire behavior models to test and improve simpler fire front propagation models will be discussed. (May 2013)

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arrowResearch on Fire Emissions Information Support System Expanded Receives Continued Support from NASA

FERA’s Don McKenzie and Roger Ottmar were recently notified of the continued support from NASA in their collaboration with Nancy French of Michigan Institute of Technology. The overall goal of the project is to provide timely and useful fire emissions estimates, including their uncertainty, to the modeling and policy-making communities.This involves improving methods used to compute spatial data sets of fire source emissions by developing superior data inputs than currently available and improving fire emissions models. End users are atmospheric/smoke modelers and climate change, wildfire, and smoke policy makers.

FERA contributes to the tasks of developing methods to create dynamic fuels mapping (as fuelbeds age or are affected by fires affected by fires, climatic changes, and other disturbances), and of assessing avenues to improve the Consume model, such as adding estimates of the uncertainty in output. (May 2013)

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arrowPNW’s Twitter Feed

If you tweet, or follow those who do, the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Yasmeen Sands might be someone to follow—@ysands_pnwrs. She reports on breaking news from research activities in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. The station’s Twitter account has 868 followers, the majority of whom are reporters, natural resource professionals, and nonprofit groups. Followers receive tweets to station news releases, new publications, and other information.

Here is an example of one of the news items she recently tweeted which features FERA’s Dave Peterson. (May 2013)

http://radiocoloradocollege.org/flash-point-wildfires-and-climate-change-perception/

To follow Yasmeen:

http://www.twitter.com/ysands_pnwrs

arrowPhoto Series Focusing on Wet and Dry Sites in the Pacific Northwest Now Available in Print

Fuels from sagebrush steppe (grasses, western juniper, and ponderosa pine) and nesting habitats of the northern spotted owl, have been combined in a unique natural fuels photo series covering Oregon and Washington. Designed to help appraise fuel and vegetation conditions in natural settings, each group of photos includes inventory information summarizing vegetation composition, structure, and loading; woody material loading and density by size class; forest floor depth and loading; and various site characteristics.

Through funding from the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, this material is appearing in print that has–up until now–been only available digitally. Contact Craig Goodell, natural resource specialist with the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, if you would like a copy (cgoodell@blm.gov)

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arrowVihnanek Conducts Technical Discussions with Local Firefighters in Colorado Springs

FERA’s field crew leader, Bob Vihnanek, participated in a series of technical discussions with the Colorado Springs Fire Department to share details about efforts taken to save homes during the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire. Information is gathered on what burned, when, how badly, and why, to guide preventative efforts. The effectiveness of past mitigation efforts can also be assessed. The effort is led by cooperator Alex Maranghides of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and partially funded by the Joint Fire Science Program Project #11-1-3-29.

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arrowEffects of Climatic Variability and Change on Forest Ecosystems: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis for the U.S. Forest Sector

This comprehensive report synthesizes the scientific literature on climate change effects and adaptation strategies for U.S. forests. FERA's Dave Peterson was one of three editors leading this national effort, which included contributions from over 30 federal and academic researchers from around the country.

Although some regions will be affected more than others, these disturbances are likely to change the structure and function of ecosystems across millions of acres over a short period of time with detrimental effects on forest resources. Anticipated effects include increased tree mortality, changes in species assemblages, and reduced water quality. (March 2013)

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arrowQuantifying the Effect of Fuel Reduction Treatments on Fire Behavior in Boreal Forests

FERA's Roger Ottmar and Bob Vihnanek were among the group of collaborators who directly measured fire intensity and energy release in each of four fuel treatments in Alaska’s Interior. The effectiveness of each treatment in changing fire behavior is presented here. (March 2013)

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arrowPrairie Burns in Western Washington in Advance Fire Behavior Model Evaluation

The prairies around Olympia, Washington offered a local opportunity for the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) to study fire behavior in simple fuelbed, one of the steps necessary for validation of fire behavior and fuel consumption models.

In mid-August, a “black line” was burned around three 150 x 150 m plots, making it possible to burn on a dry September day and to collect a rare set of fire behavior, fuels, weather, and air quality data. FERA’s Ruddy Mell stood 85-foot above the burns in a boom lift with his infrared and digital cameras, and below were fire behavior packages, anemometers, digital video cameras, and weather station. Data gathered are in the process of being evaluated.

This past year, FERA’s Roger Ottmar successfully competed for funding of field crew and technical staff salaries on this significant project. It was provided   from the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station. He also organized the entire operation that included researchers from the Missoula Fire Lab and Pacific Wildland Fire Science Lab, firefighters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and a prescribed burn crew from the nonprofit Center for Natural Lands Management.

Every partner in this project contributed very significant amounts of time, materials, and equipment for about two dozen people involved in the burn.

This research leverages a Joint Fire Science Program project, and is likely to lead to further collaborative research with other Department of Defense agencies. It provided an opportunity to develop and test data collection methods in advance of the Fall 2012 RxCADRE burns, and this data is expected to improve the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS). (September 2012)

arrowSeason of Burning in the South

FERA completed field data collection for an investigation into the effects of season-of-burning on fuel dynamics in Southern pine forests.  Eighteen locations burned by prescribed fires in 2009-10 (nine during the dormant season and nine during the growing season) have been remeasured annually to assess species composition changes, fuel accumulation rates, and live vegetation regrowth.  Study sites were located in northern Florida in flatwoods vegetation types at Eglin Air Force Base, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and the Apalachicola National Forest.  Data analysis is ongoing with project completion expected in early 2013.


We acknowledge funding for this project under Joint Fire Science Program #09-1-02-2.(September 2012)

arrowFCCS Installation for Computers Running Java 7.0 or Non-Windows Operating Systems

This installation is necessary for anyone with Java 7.0 installed on their computer or does not have a Microsoft Windows operating system.  If you have a new computer and are having trouble with the normal FCCS version 2.2 windows installer, it is likely that you have Java 7.0 installed and need to use this version of FCCS.(September 2012)

arrowSurface Fuel Treatments in Young, Regenerating Stands Affect Wildfire Severity in a Mixed Conifer Forest, Eastern Cascade Range, Washington, USA

Evaluations of fuel treatment effects in regenerating plantation mixed-conifer forests in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest were conducted after the 2006 Tripod Complex Fires. Overall, results suggest that young stands in some dry mixed conifer forests can be resilient to wildifire if surface fuel loading is low upon stand establishment. Read more about the topic in the journal Forest Ecology and Managment. Authors are the University of Washington's Christina Lyons-Tinsley and FERA's David L. Peterson. (September 2012)

arrowProperties Affecting the Consumption of Sound and Rotten Coarse Woody Debris in Northern Idaho: A Preliminary Investigation Using Laboratory Fires

In the International Journal of Wildland Fire, FERA's Roger Ottmar joined Josh Hyde and Alistair Smith in an evaluation of coarse woody debris, its decay, and the effect of that decay on fuel consumption. Results indicate very decayed coarse woody debris is likely to be consumed to a substantially greater degree than sound coarse woody debris given similar conditions. High consumption occurred in debris with low-density, high-lignin content and high gravimetric heat content; however, lignin content and density showed the highest correlation with consumption. (September 2012)

arrowFuel Variability Following Wildfire in Forests with Mixed Severity Fire Regimes, Cascade Range, USA

Measurements of post-burn fuel variability are critical for understanding the ecological significance of mixed severity fires, and help in developing restoration strategies that emulate characteristics of historical fire regimes. Results of this post-fire research conducted on the eastern slopes of Washington's Cascade Range indicate that fire severity influences immediate post-burn canopy fuels and potential fire behavior but does not influence dead and down surface fuel loading for the three fires studied. FERA's Dave Peterson joined the University of Washington's Jessica Hudec in writing this paper for the journal Forest Ecology and Management. (September 2012)

arrow2012 American Geophysical Union Meeting

Don McKenzie will be convening a special session, “Wildfires on Landscapes: Theory, Models, and Management,” at the December AGU meeting in San Francisco.


Maureen Kennedy is presenting “Integrating a Simple Stochastic Fire Spread Model with the Regional Hydro-Ecological Simulation System,” and McKenzie is coauthor on two posters:

  • Assessing Accuracy of a Probabilistic Model for Very Large Fire in the Rocky Mountains: A High Park Fire Case Study
  • Estimating Biomass Burning Emissions for Carbon Cycle Science and Resource Monitoring and Management (September 2012)

arrow5th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress

Posters:

  • The Piled Fuels Biomass and Emissions Calculator (Wright)
  • Measuring the Effects of Slash Pile Burning and How Fire Effects Change as Piles Age (Wright)
  • Linking the Forest Vegetation Simulator and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System to Improve Fuel Quantification and Fire Behavior Predictions
  • Physical Properties of Downed Woody Debris in Mexican Ecosystems (Alvarado)
  • Fire History of the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve in Western México (Cassell)

Presentations:

  • Investigating the Causes of Spatial and Temporal Variation in Burn Severity at Local and Regional Scales in the Washington Cascade Range (Cansler)
  • Evaluating Fuel Treatment Efficacy on Arizona’s Largest Wildfire (Johnson)
  • Effects of Salvage Logging and Pile-and-burn on Fuel Loading, Potential Fire Behavior, Fuel Consumption, and Emissions After a Windstorm (Johnson)
  • Effect of Burn Season on Surface Fuel Dynamics in Mesic Longleaf Pine Flatwoods in Northwest Florida (Cronan)
  • Managing Fuels in a Greenhouse World: a Framework for Adaptation (Peterson)
  • Characterizing Fuels for Fire and Fuels Management Application  in the 21st Century (Ottmar)
  • A Data Set for Fire and Smoke Model Development and Evaluation—RxCADRE Project Progress (Ottmar)

(September 2012)

arrowFERA Joins in UW Effort to Archive Field Data

The Joint Fire Science Program recently funded FERA’s University of Washington cooperators Rob Norheim and Ernesto Alvarado for a 1-year effort to document and archive datasets from 11 completed JFSP projects. These projects have generated high-quality datasets that are potentially valuable to other researchers. Dave Peterson is a co-principal investigator, and other team members will contribute.

arrow Technical Fire Management Class of 2012

Peterson once again helped organize and instruct TFM’s Fire Effects module, which introduces the basics of fire spread as it is currently modeled and the relationship of fire characteristics to fuel bed particles and other fuel bed characteristics. Individual presentations were given by Clint Wright, Morris Johnson, Susan Prichard, and Crystal Raymond.

arrowOttmar and Alvarado Present at Emission Factor Workshop

FERA’s Roger Ottmar and the University of Washington’s Ernesto Alvarado each presented talks at the “Wildland Fire Particulate Matter Emission Factor Workshop”  on February 7th, 2012 in Atlanta. Sponsored by the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Program, and Florida A&M University, 34 participants attended in person and 30 through a webinar. Roger presented a talk on advances in characterizing fuels and consumption for inventory of wildland fire emission, and Ernesto presented a talk on the role of smoldering combustion on smoke emissions. A discussion followed to consider the largest errors in with a wildland fire emissions inventory.

arrowClimate Model Workshop at Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals Conference

In the month of May, FERA’s Ellen Eberhardt, along with statistician Ashley Steel from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, will join two university colleagues in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They will present the pre-conference workshop on ways to consider climate models and how their aggregated results could inform a variety of clients. Oregon State University’s Forest Extension Office is supporting this work.

arrowRuddy Mell Part of Team Recognized for Outstanding Contribution to Fire Science

The International Forum of Fire Research Directors selected the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) development team to receive the Sjölin Award for 2012. This international award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the science or practice of fire safety engineering and is presented to the individual or group whose efforts are primarily responsible for or traceable to the specified advance.

FERA’s Ruddy Mell was part of a team that is credited with outstanding contributions over the past number of years to advance fire engineering around the world. This team developed, maintained and extended the functionality of a software program, called the FDS (Fire Dynamics Simulator) that has become the tool of choice by both the fire research and fire engineering communities. FDS represents the most widely used computational fire engineering tool in both research and industry. Through its use and application many new insights have emerged, further extending our understanding of the behaviour of fire phenomena.

Incorporated in FDS is WFDS (Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator), currently under development and testing, through a joint USFS-FERA and National Institute of Standards and Technology effort, to expand the capability of FDS into natural vegetation. (7/30/12)

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arrowResearch Burn at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Grasslands in a restored, natural prairie site on the military’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Olympia, Washington will be the site of three research burns to characterize fuels and monitor fire behavior and fuel consumption. Three 150-m blocks have been established for the research project that will be burned in early August when the grasses have cured and stopped growing.

This burn will allow researchers to gather data for Ruddy Mell’s Wildland-Urban Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS); relate field sampling with LiDAR imagery; provide field data to compare with laboratory measurement; and serve as a practice run for data collection methods being developed for the RxCADRE experiment on Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base this fall. Special project funding was provided by the Pacific Northwest Research Station.

Carl Seielstad of the University of Montana and Dan Jimenez and Mark Finney of the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Laboratory will be joining FERA’s Roger Ottmar, Ruddy Mell, Bob Vihnanek, and Clint Wright.

FERA’s Mell will be collecting infrared and visible images of the fire front from the boom lift during the fire. Seielstad will simultaneously operate ground LIDAR located on an 85-foot boom lift to characterize the fuels from above while preburn fuels sampling is being done by the FERA field crew, and Jimenez will set up 10 portable wind instruments around each block to characterize the wind profile. He will also position several fire behavior packages within each block. Mark Finney will be collecting ground-level photographic imagery. (7/30/12)

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arrowNASA Funds Additional Development of Regional Fire Emissions Products

FERA’s Don McKenzie, in partnership with Nancy French of Michigan Tech Research Institute, successfully competed for research funding from NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System to develop regional emissions products with the Wildland Fire Emissions Information System (WFEIS). Using remote-sensing products from NASA, they will modify current fuels mapping and fuel consumption calculations in WFEIS, thereby improving the quantification of mapped fuels (biomass) across the United States and combustion in deep organic soils of Alaska. (7/30/12)

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arrowQuantifying Fuel Treatment Effectiveness on Arizona’s Largest Recorded Wildfire

FERA’s Morris Johnson began data collection to measure how effective fuel treatments were in altering fire behavior of Arizona’s largest recorded wildfire, the 2011 Wallow Fire. The fire burned 212,000 ha on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in eastern Arizona. Before the fire, more than 21,000 ha had been thinned to reduce wildfire hazard around several WUI communities.

The Wallow Fire burned across a large proportion of these completed treatments. It took a crew of approximately 6 individuals to install linear transects through the treated, and adjacent untreated, stands. Every 100 feet, permanent plots were installed to measure tree variables such as tree height and tree species. Woody dead fuels were measured along Brown’s transects.

Johnson used fire progression maps and fire manager interviews to identify treatment units that burned without the influence of fire suppression activities. He will be quantifying fuel treatment effectiveness by comparing burn severity, tree mortality, and crown scorch between treated stands and adjacent untreated stands. This projected has been funded by the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, and the Pacific Northwest Research Station. (7/30/12)

arrowWUI Assessment Tool Tested in Colorado Springs Neighborhood

The June/July 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, in and around the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado, destroyed nearly 350 homes. This tragedy offered the opportunity to test methods of assessing specific damage structures to learn how communities can best protect themselves from such wildland-urban fires. FERA’s Bob Vihnanek and Ernesto Alvarado joined Derek McNamara of McNamara Consulting and a liaison of the Colorado Springs Fire Department to assess about 30 homes (unburned, partially burned, totally burned) with a newly-developed checklist. Developed into an iPhone app, this checklist will facilitate collection of standardized information from fire affected structures within a fire perimeter. Field measurements included structure particulars, specifically roof type, proximity of combustibles to the structure, and damage to wildland and residential vegetation. This basic assessment, called WUI 1, is aimed at standardizing post-WUI fire data collection. Texas Forest Service started using the WUI 1 in 2011. A more detailed WUI 2 assessment has also been developed to further identify structural and landscaping ignition vulnerabilities. The WUI 2 method was utilized to collected data from the Tanglewood Complex Fire in Texas in 2011.  

Alex Maranghides of the National Institute of Standards and Technology is the principal investigator on this research in part funded by the Joint Fire Science Program Project #11-1-3-29. Data collected will also be of use in the development of WFDS program, a collaboration between FERA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (7/30/12)

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arrowTune In to Don McKenzie’s Podcast “Scarred for Life”

Don McKenzie became FERA’s podcasting pioneer as he worked with Yasmeen Sands from the Pacific Northwest Research Station to produce a 10-minute podcast on fire and climate change in the inland West. He talks about how his work with fire-scarred trees can reveal spatial patterns and controls of historical fires across the landscape and how these respond to changes in climate. (7/30/12)

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arrowCarbon Dynamics of Forests in Washington: U.S. Projections for the 21st Century Based on Climate-Driven Changes in Fire Regimes

FERA's Crystal Raymond and Don McKenzie consider the implications on carbon storage and emissions of future fire regimes under different climate change scenarios. In forests of the Washington Cascades, increases in area burned shift a greater proportion of forests to younger age classes, decreasing carbon stores but increasing annual carbon uptake. More area burned increases carbon emissions from live and dead biomass and increases carbon stores in the form of dead biomass. Forests in the western Washington Cascades are projected to have the greatest percentage increases in consumption of biomass between now and the 2040s as compared with forests in the drier eastern portion of the state. The journal Ecological Applications published this in July of 2012. (7/30/12)

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arrowNew Joint Fire Science Projects Focus on Model Development

This past April, the Joint Fire Science Program awarded funding for new projects, five of which involve scientists from the FERA team. The first two are directed by the team, and in the last two FERA plays a minor role.

arrowMcKenzie Leads Review of Smoke Consequences of Global Emission Scenarios

The Joint Fire Science Program recently funded a proposal from FERA’s Don McKenzie, “Smoke Consequences of IPCC's Scenarios Projected Climate and Ecosystem Changes in the US: Review Paper” to coordinate a review of the fire and smoke implications of new global-change scenarios adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The review will provide a roadmap for local- and regional-scale modeling of wildfires and smoke emissions and dispersion.(7/30/12)

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arrowFuel Treatment Paper One of the Most Widely Downloaded of 2011

The Canadian Journal of Forest Research lists FERA’s paper, “Simulating Fuel Treatment Effects of the Western United States: Testing the Principles of a Fire-Safe Forest,” as the 10th most downloaded article of 2011. The Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station found that it was the most-downloaded of all the Station’s publication in FY11 – a whopping 470 times from that site alone!

FERA’s Morris Johnson, along with Maureen Kennedy (University of Washington) and David L. Peterson, ran the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS) using various fuel treatment prescriptions to simulate the effects of thinning and surface fuel treatments in dry forest in 11 western states. Their simulations suggested that the effectiveness of fuel treatments in the West depends on thinning intensity, with the most intense treatments they studied, which leave 50 to 100 trees per acre, being more effective in reducing the threat of crown fires than less-intense treatments. (7/30/12)

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arrowFERA Joins in UW Effort to Archive Field Data

The Joint Fire Science Program recently funded FERA’s University of Washington cooperators Rob Norheim and Ernesto Alvarado for a 1-year effort to document and archive datasets from 11 completed JFSP projects. These projects have generated high-quality datasets that are potentially valuable to other researchers. Dave Peterson is a co-principal investigator, and other team members will contribute.(5/14/12)

arrowTechnical Fire Management Class of 2012

Dave Peterson once again helped organize and instruct TFM’s Fire Effects module, which introduces the basics of fire spread as it is currently modeled and the relationship of fire characteristics to fuel bed particles and other fuel bed characteristics. Individual presentations were given by Clint Wright, Morris Johnson, Susan Prichard, and Crystal Raymond. (5/14/12)

arrowOttmar and Alvarado Present at Emission Factor Workshop

FERA’s Roger Ottmar and the University of Washington’s Ernesto Alvarado each presented talks at the “Wildland Fire Particulate Matter Emission Factor Workshop”  on February 7th, 2012 in Atlanta. Sponsored by the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Program, and Florida A&M University, 34 participants attended in person and 30 through a webinar. Roger presented a talk on advances in characterizing fuels and consumption for inventory of wildland fire emission, and Ernesto presented a talk on the role of smoldering combustion on smoke emissions. A discussion followed to consider the largest errors in with a wildland fire emissions inventory.(5/14/12)

arrowClimate Model Workshop at Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals Conference

In the month of May, FERA’s Ellen Eberhardt, along with statistician Ashley Steel from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, will join two university colleagues in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They will present the pre-conference workshop on ways to consider climate models and how their aggregated results could inform a variety of clients. Oregon State University’s Forest Extension Office is supporting this work. (5/14/12)

arrowSpecial Issue of Forest Ecology and Management on “Assessing Wildland Fuels and Hazard Mitigation in the Southeastern United States”

A Comparison of Geospatially Modeled Fire Behavior and Fire Management Utility of Three Data Sources in the Southeastern United States

Using Fine-scale Fuel Measurements to Assess Wildland Fuels, Potential Fire Behavior and Hazard Mitigation Treatments in the Southeastern USA

Effectiveness in Forests of the Upper Atlantic Coastal Plain—an Evaluation at Two Spatial Scales

Evaluating Fuel Complexes for Fire Hazard Mitigation Planning in the Southeastern United States

Developing Custom Fire Behavior Fuel Models from Ecologically Complex Fuel Structures for Upper Atlantic Coastal Plain Forests

Effects of Overstory Composition and Prescribed FIre on Fuel Loading Across a Heterogeneous Managed Landscape in the Southeastern USA

Linking 3D Spatial Models of Fuels and Fire: Effects of Spatial Heterogeneity on Fire Behavior

arrowEffects of Bark Beetle-Caused Tree Mortality on Wildfire

FERA’s Morris Johnson joined with 3 other authors to write this review and synthesis of the published literature on modifications to fuels and fire characteristics following beetle-caused tree mortality. They found agreement in some areas, and disagreements or knowledge gaps in other areas – highlighting specific needs for future research. The journal Forest Ecology and Management will be publishing it this month, and it is already available online. (5/14/12)

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arrowFire Experiment Coordinates Data Collection Activities Across Academic Boundaries

The Joint Fire Science Program recently awarded the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station funding to support collection of data in the spirit of integrating multiple fire research disciplines (fuels, meteorology, fire behavior, remote sensing, smoke, and fire effects) in the field. FERA’s Roger Ottmar is the principal investigator, and the large group of collaborators (RxCADRE) includes researchers from a majority of the U.S. Forest Service Research stations, three institutions of higher education, and other research entities.

Collaborators will intensively monitor from 9 to 15 5-acre prescribed burns and two 1000-acre operational burns, at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base during the first two weeks in November 2012. Kevin Hiers and Brett Williams of Jackson Guard will be providing logistical support for the research effort. Data from these burns and from previous burns monitored by the RxCADRE (2008 and 2011) will be placed in a repository for use by scientists, modelers, and managers.

Most recently, FERA’s Roger Ottmar, Bob Vihnanek, and Ruddy Mell visited potential burn sites on the base, participated in two small grass burns, and formulated fuel measurement protocols for obtaining the appropriate fuel measurements for use in testing fire behavior models.

(3/12/12)

arrowNational Database for Calculating the Fuel-Available-to-Wildfires

A short paper published in EOS describes how the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) can be used to estimate emissions from wildfires in real time at subcontinental scales and in a spatially consistent manner. Written by FERA's Don McKenzie and Roger Ottmar, along with Nancy French from Michigan Tech, it includes discussion about the availability of this data in the Wildland Fire Emissions Information System. (3/12/12)

arrowShaping the Future of Prescribed Fire in Washington

FERA’s Dave Peterson, Morris Johnson, Roger Ottmar, Susan Prichard (University of Washington) and Clint Wright attended the newly-formed Washington State Prescribed Fire Council‘s first annual conference in Wenatchee Washington on March 6 and 7. The council is intended to be a collaborative group working to protect, conserve, and expand the responsible use of prescribed fire on the Washington landscape and joins over 25 similar councils across North America. (3/12/12)

arrowNorthwest Fire Science Consortium

Readers in the Pacific Northwest may have heard of the newly-developed Northwest Fire Science Consortium. Sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program, this consortium joins 10 others across the country. It aims to help connect managers, practitioners and scientists working in the region, provide the best fire information, and demonstrate new knowledge in the field. Oregon State University’s Extension Forestry Program received funding to coordinate consortium activities through its collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. (3/12/12)

arrowFERA’s Dave Peterson Serves on Washington State Advisory Committee

PNW Research Station scientist Dave Peterson has been appointed to the Washington state Forest Health Technical Advisory committee by Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands. Committee members will provide advice on the severity of the threats to forests, areas of the state where corrective actions would be best prioritized, and what kind of actions would be most effective. (3/12/12)

arrowImproving Smoke Management and Testing Software Results

Roger Ottmar and Bob Vihnanek visited the Fort Gordon military installation in February to begin assessing sites to characterize fuels and fuel consumption. The sites will have a variety of rough ages ranging from 1 to 4 years with one unit never having been burned. The data will be compared with results predicted by the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and Consume models.

The study is supported by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Fort Gordon has been using FERA’s set of products for smoke management since 2009, following a 3-day workshop held at the facility. They use the photo-series to inventory the fuels and build FCCS fuelbeds., and then import those fuelbeds into Consume and the Fire Emission Production Simulator (FEPS) to generate levels of expected fuel consumption and emission production. Emission production, along with weather information, is fed into V-SMOKE for estimating plume direction and concentration for smoke management reporting requirements. (3/12/12)

arrowFERA Welcomes Visiting Professor Dr. Guenther C. Krieger Filho from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Dr. Krieger Filho is currently working with FERA team members Dr. Ernesto Alvarado (University of Washington) and Dr. Ruddy Mell on integration of ecologically based fuel characterization and physical models. The will discuss the development of a physics-based model for understory fire propagation; explore the possibility of adding a porous media model that accounts for heat fluxes and radiation heat transfer, similar to the Wildland Fire Dynamic Simulator (WFDS); implement of coupled equations governing momentum, mass conservation, and energy into a surface model that will be applicable to field conditions, including those existing in Amazonian fire environments.

This discussion will lead to a design of field experiments to test the model in the Amazon forest. Dr. Krieger Filho will be at the University of Washington through the middle of June.(3/19/12)

arrowNational Forests Now Offered Guidelines on Responding to Climate Change

Resource managers at the nation’s 155 national forests now have a set of science-based guidelines to help them manage landscapes for resilience to climate change, and this guidebook is now available both electronically and in hard copy.
FERA’s Dave Peterson developed the guidelines along with counterparts from the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, and Rocky Mountain Research Stations, with input from university scientists and national forest resource managers.(1/26/12)

Press release more

Guidebook more

arrowU.S. National Forests Adapt to Climate Change Through Science-Management Partnerships

Examples of science-management partnerships developed on the Olympic Peninsula (Washington) and Tahoe National Forest (California) are used to show ways of planning for anticipated effects of climate change on natural resources on public lands. Published in the journal Climatic Change, FERA's Dave Peterson worked with close collaborators Jeremy Littell, Connie Millar, and Kathy O'Halloran to establish these collaborations. (1/26/12)

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arrowStudy Compares Consume 3.0 and FOFEM in the Eastern United States

A validation study of the Consume 3.0 and FOFEM smoke consumption models for fuel types in the eastern United States is now complete. Both systems perform well in predicting shrub and herbaceous consumption in the East, but did a poor job of predicting 1-hr, 10-hr, litter, and duff consumption.

Data and the final report are available on the website, and manuscripts are in preparation. Investigators included FERA’s Roger Ottmar, Matt Dickinson of the Northern Research Station, and Elizabeth Reinhardt (formerly of the Rocky Mountain Research Station). (1/26/12)

We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program Project #08-1-6-01

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arrowUpslope Grass Fires Help Test Fire Behavior Models
Prescribed burns planned for May 2012 on the U.S. Army’s Fort Hunter Liggett (California) will focus on freely burning grass fires as they spread upslope. Measurements of wind and fire perimeter evolution (including spread rate and fire depth) will be made to support the development and testing of fire behavior models. Grass fires offer the simplest and “cleanest” means of testing a fire model’s ability capture the influence of slope on the spread and depth of the head and flank fires at landscape scales.

This work is supported by both NIST and the National Fire Plan. FERA’s Ruddy Mell is collaborating in this effort with Alex Maranghides of NIST; the research lead is Professor Craig Clements of the Department of Meteorology, San Jose State University. (1/26/12)

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arrowUnderstanding the Role of Terrain and Wind Interactions on Fire Spread through Communities

FERA’s Ruddy Mell has been down in California this January setting up equipment to measure near-ground wind fields (20 ft) in a suburban community north of San Diego. This wildland-urban interface community was burned by the 2007 Witch and Guejito fires during a Santa Ana wind event and is the subject of a continuing study. Wind data will be obtained from anemometers mounted on selected light poles present in the community. The plan is to measure wind behavior during Santa Ana winds to better understand the role of terrain and wind interactions on fire spread through the community.

Data from the anemometers, combined with measurements from wind towers and SoDAR*  instruments, will be used to help validate and develop wind prediction models suitable for fire behavior modeling. In addition, the accuracy and reliability of SoDAR measurements are currently being tested by comparing them to NOAA wind measurements from a tower located near Stockton, California.

This work is supported by both National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Fire Plan. Collaborators include Alex Maranghides of NIST and Professor Fletcher Miller of the Mechanical Engineering Department of San Diego State University.(1/26/12)

* SoDAR (sonic detection and ranging) systems are used to remotely measure the vertical turbulence structure and the wind profile of the lower layer of the atmosphere.

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arrowProgress in Studying Influences of Pile Age and Season of Burning on Combustion and Fire Effects

Study sites to measure how the age of handpiles affects how they burn in different seasons were established this past summer in Washington’s Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and on Santa Clara Pueblo land in New Mexico. About 30 piles were built and weighed at each location, and each pile’s fuel composition was characterized. In October, 5 piles were burned at each study site. Postburn measurements of fuel consumption, charcoal production, and soil chemistry, above- and below-ground heating were taken. In 2012, 25 additional piles will be built at each location, with 5 piles burned in the spring and 5 more in the fall. (November 2011)

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arrowNew Version of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) Released
FERA is pleased to offer an updated version of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS 2.2). Improvements include:

  • User input screens are now offered in both metric and English measurement systems.
  • Minor corrections were made to the total carbon report and to the fuel model crosswalk calculations.
  • Crown fire potentials were amended to more accurately represent recently dead trees with red foliage
  • Batch mode interface was slightly modified to accommodate large batches of fuelbeds and to remove minor errors 
  • A combustible-carbon report was added to the batch calculator.

(November 2011)

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arrowFERA’s Early Research in Brazil Leaves a Legacy

After several years of research in Amazonian deforestation burns, FERA’s colleagues from Brazil received a media attention from the major TV and newspaper news in Brazil, O Globo. They reported from the burn and interviewed some of the scientists who have been hosted by FERA over the years.

FERA can be credited for fostering the beginnings of the biomass burning and smoke emissions project with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which now includes several universities.  Some of the techniques used in this burn were developed by FERA; for instance, the use of wires for fuel consumption, line transects for fuel sampling, and others.

Several of the people in this video have been hosted by FERA  including Carlos Gurgel, who spent a sabbatical at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab;  Fernando Costa, who spent a sabbatical at the Corvallis Forestry Sciences Lab; Joao Andrade, the project leader; and Jose Carlos dos Santos, who worked with FERA’s field  crew in Alaska. Carlos Kriegger Guenther, who is interested in Ruddy Mell’s model for fire spread under closed canopies of tropical forests, may make an extended visit to the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab in 2012.

This was the first time a burn has been conducted in the Rio Branco experimental forest owned by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). Although not seen in the video, the host and legal facilitator of this burn was Marcus Vinicio d’Oliveria. He spent 2 years in Seattle studying new technologies developed by the U.S. Forest Service in forestry and fire management.

Advice from the U.S. Forest Service remains valuable, and we look forward to continued collaboration into the future. (November 2011)

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Use of FERA Tools Taught at AFE Meeting

Roger Ottmar, Clint Wright, Susan Prichard, and Bob Vihnanek  led a FERA tool workshop at the Association of Fire Ecology’s Interior West regional conference, held at Snowbird, Utah the week of November 14. The FCCS, digital photo series, pile calculator, and Consume were discussed and demonstrated.  Clint Wright also presented a poster on the Sage-Grouse and Spotted Owl habitat photo series and moderated a conference session on socioeconomic issues and fire.  Susan Prichard presented her recently research on landscape analysis of fuel treatments and wildfire severity following the 2006 Tripod Complex wildfires in northcentral Washington.

arrowInvestigating Fuel Treatment Efficacy on Arizona’s Wallow Fire

This month, FERA’s Morris Johnson toured burned areas of Arizona’s largest recorded wildfire, the Wallow Fire, on Apache–Sitgreaves National Forests. He visited several fuel treatments areas that were burned over during the wildfire, and plans to initiate a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of those fuel treatment. He is working closely with silviculturist Jim Pitts and assistant fire management officer Russell Bigelow on the Springerville Ranger District.

Morris studies the effectiveness of fuel treatments in dry Western forests and is investigating this rare opportunity to evaluate fuel treatment efficacy. The Wallow Fire consumed 817 square miles (522,900) across eastern Arizona and 24 square miles (15,000 acres) in western New Mexico. (August 31, 2011)

arrowNorth Cascadia Workshop on Climate Change, Fish, and Fish Habitat

After completing the education phase of the project, the North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership shifted focus to vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. The first workshop on vulnerability assessment and adaptation, which focused on climate change effects on fisheries, was held in Seattle, WA on July 27-28. Thirty stakeholders spent the first day sharing goals and objectives for fish management in each forest or park, considering comments by scientific experts in various areas of fish management, and then collaborating to identify key aspects of climate change in relation to fish management. The second day focused on identifying adaptation strategies and tactics to reduce the vulnerability of fish to climate change effects that change stream flow, increase stream temperatures, and increased sedimentation.(August 31, 2011)

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arrowForest Regeneration and Biomass Production after Slash and Burn in a Seasonally Dry Forest in the Southern Brazilian Amazon

In an effort to project biomass accumulation in dry Brazilian forests after slash-and-burn activities, fire researchers returned to a site studied 7 years ago to remeasure biomass. Results indicate that the time needed for this forest to return to prefire aboveground biomass ranged from 20 to 30 years. Considering these results, the maintenance of regenerating secondary forests in the Amazon would be a significant contribution to understanding carbon sinks, restoration of burnt areas, soil and watershed protection, minimizing biodiversity losses, and perhaps mitigating climatic change effects in the region.

This paper, in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, was written by FERA's Dr. Ernesto Alvarado and his fire research coauthors Marcus d'Oliveira, Jose Carlos Santos, and Joao Carvalho, Jr. The FERA team and Brazilian researchers continue to maintain a long-standing partnership conducting fire and carbon research. (August 31, 2011)

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arrowForest Service Issues Press Release on Simulations of Fuel Treatment Effectiveness
On August 1, on the heels of large forest fires in the American Southwest, the Forest Service featured FERA’s Morris Johnson and his work on the effectiveness of fuel treatments.

“In the largest ever study of fuel treatment effectiveness, U.S. Forest Service researchers have found that intense thinning treatments that leave between 50 and 100 trees per acre are the most effective in reducing the probability of crown fires in the dry forests of the western United States. The study, the results of which are published in a recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, provides a scientific basis for establishing quantitative guidelines for reducing stand densities and surface fuels. The total number of optimal trees per acre on any given forest will depend on species, terrain and other factors.” (August 31, 2011)

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arrowU.S. National Forests Adapt to Climate Change through Science-Management Partnerships

Developing appropriate management options for adapting to climate change is a new challenge for land managers, and integration of climate change concepts into operational management and planning on United States national forests is just starting. FERA's David L. Peterson, along with collaborators Jeremy Littell, Connie Millar, and Kathy O'Halloran, established science–management partnerships on the Olympic National Forest and Tahoe National Forest describe that process in this paper published by the journal Climatic Change. (June 29, 2011)

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arrowWorkshop Approach for Developing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Actions for Natural Resource Management Agencies in the United States

Concrete ways to adapt to climate change are needed to help land-management agencies take steps to incorporate climate change into management and take advantage of opportunities to balance the negative effects of climate change.This Journal of Forestry paper offers an example of a successful workshop, focused on National Forests in the United States, which allowed quick dissemination of ideas and strategies for climate change adaptation in resource management through an interaction between scientists and managers. Coauthors include FERA's David L. Peterson and Jessica Halofsky, along with Forest Service Research partners Mike Furniss, Linda Joyce, Connie Millar, and Ron Neilson. (June 20, 2011)

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arrowNE Oregon FCCS Mapping Project Begins

Fire and land managers in the national forests of northeastern Oregon gathered in Baker City on May 12th to begin development of current and potential Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) fuelbeds for that area. Many fuelbeds previously developed for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests will be adapted, with a change of species, in this current project. Areas to be mapped include portions of the Umatilla, Malheur, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. FERA's Roger Ottmar is coordinating the work.This project is a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region and the Pacific Northwest Research Station. (June 29, 2011)

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arrowInternational Fire Research Addressed by Ernesto Alvarado at South Africa Meeting

FERA’s Ernesto Alvarado attended the Wildfire 2011 conference held in Sun City, South Africa from 9-13 of May 2011. He chaired two sessions, “Mitigation, Wildfire Risk Reduction and Vulnerability” and “Indigenous Fire Management.” He also gave an oral presentation on integration and application of traditional ecological knowledge and modern science for wildland fire management in U.S. tribal lands, and co-authored a presented paper, “Lessons Learned on Fire Management in Indigenous Communities of Bolivia.”

During this same trip, Dr. Alvarado visited Rostenburg to participate in a workshop on global modeling of fuel consumption. Scientists from 11 countries covered topics such as continental differences in fuel consumption and their main drivers; ecological insight;  data availability; modeling techniques; knowledge gaps; and key fuel consumption. Participants in the workshop represented fuel consumption work in savannas, tropical deforestation, shrublands, temperate and boreal forests, satellite retrievals, and modeling. The workshop was organized by Dr. Guido van der Werf from Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. (June 29, 2011)

arrowModel Comparisons for Estimating Carbon Emissions from North American Wildland Fire

This paper compares approaches to estimating emissions from wildland fires in case studies from North America, and identifies model assumptions and potential improvements. It was written as part of the North American Carbon Program disturbance synthesis. Seventeen authors collaborated on the project, led by Nancy French of Michigan Tech Reseach Institute, with assistance from FERA's Don McKenzie and Roger Ottmar.

arrowSimulating Fuel Treatment Effects in Dry Forests of the Western United States: Testing the Principles of a Fire-Safe Forest

FERA's Morris Johnson, Maureen Kennedy, and David L. Peterson published a study in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research which found that the concurrence of results from modeling and empirical studies provides quantitative support for “fire-safe” principles of forest fuel reduction. The Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator predicted that Intense thinning treatments were more effective than light thinning treatments. It also predicted prescribed fire to be the most effective surface fuel treatment, whereas no difference was found between no surface fuel treatment and extraction of fuels. This inability to discriminate the effects of certain fuel treatments illuminates the consequence of a documented limitation in how the simulator incorporates fuel models.

FCCS Fuelbeds for the Lake Tahoe Basin: Final Report

Three years of collaborative work with Lake Tahoe Basin fire planners has culminated in a final report on development of current and potential future FCCS fuelbeds using a vegetation pathway approach. This report, plus map of current fuelbeds, and GIS layers associated with them, are now available on the FCCS mapping website. FERA’s Roger Ottmar and the Pacific Southwest Region’s Hugh Safford were co-investigators on this project.

arrowLandscape Ecology of Fire

FERA’s Don McKenzie, along with colleagues Carol Miller and Don Falk, edited this new work and wrote several of the 12 chapters. The book is part of the prestigious Springer Ecological Studies series. The four parts of the book explore concepts and theory in the landscape ecology of fire, fire climatology and broad-scale controls on fire regimes, landscape fire dynamics and interactions with other disturbances and other ecological processes, and landscape fire management and policy in the context of climate and land-use change.

arrowRamping Up for Summer Field Work

FERA’s field crew is busily preparing for their summer to be spent resampling fuels 13 years after the 1996 Summit Fire that burned 40,000 acres of mixed conifer forest on Malheur National Forest of eastern Oregon. The Joint Fire Science Program is funding this work to investigate intermediate effects of postfire logging on fuels and stand structure, and Jim McIver of Oregon State University is the principal investigator.

Data collected will be run through the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and Consume 3.0 to develop estimate of fire behavior and emissions. We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project JFSP 11-1-1-19. (May 25, 2011)

arrowInternational Fire Conference Participation

Drs. Morris Johnson and Ernesto Alvarado represented FERA at the 5th International Fire Management Conference held this past month in Sun City, South Africa. Morris presented “Post-disturbance Logging Effects on Fuelbed Characteristics and Fire Behavior Following a Major Windstorm Event” in the session which he also chaired. It featured recent advances in the application of fire science.

In addition, Morris was a member of the conference’s program committee, contributing four posters: an overview of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS);   integrating FCCS and the Forest Vegetation Simulator; quantifying fire hazard and fire behavior following a windstorm in southwest Oregon (U.S.A.) using the FCCS); and evaluating the effects of forest restoration thinning on fire hazard and area burned in the Cedar River municipal watershed (Washington, U.S.A.).

Interesting daily newsletters produced during the conference can be read by scrolling down the webpage  http://www.wildfire2011.org/(May 25, 2011)

arrowFERA Team Teaching at Technical Fire Management

The 26th class of Washington Institute’s Technical Fire Management course met earlier this month in Bothell, Washington. Dave Peterson directed the 2-week Fire Effects module and he was joined by FERA instructors Morris Johnson, Clint Wright, Don McKenzie, Roger Ottmar, and Susan Prichard. (May 25, 2011)

arrowNorth Cascadia Adaptation Project Moves Forward

Hydrologic information generated by the Climate Impacts Group has been reviewed and summarized across 2 national parks and 2 national forests in northwestern Washington. Historic and future streamflow projections were obtained from sites within the study area to serve as examples of potential shifts in magnitude and timing of peak streamflow in the future in accordance with different climate scenarios. Projected changes in dominant winter precipitation type across watersheds (i.e. rain, snow, or mixed) and subsequent changes in streamflow are being examined. (April 29, 2011)


arrowWebinar Addresses the Role of Bark Beetle Killed Trees in Wildfire Behavior

FERA’s Morris Johnson has been working over the past 2 years with a team of researchers on an up-to-date review of literature on the effects of beetle-killed trees on fire behavior. You are invited to join a webinar at 10:30 am (Mountain Time) on May 4 to see Jeff Hicke (University of Idaho) present early results of this research, including a conceptual design for considering this topic. The meeting and broader webinar are sponsored, in part, by the U.S. Forest Service, Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center.  (April 29, 2011)

arrowProgress Made Toward Linking FCCS with FVS

The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) annual steering committee meeting was held in Fort Collins several weeks ago. Morris Johnson represented the FERA team and presented an update of his work to integrate the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) with FVS. Updates were provided on the use of FVS by various organizations, how it is being adapted to emerging areas of interest such as climate change, and how the model can be maintained, tested, and validated. (April 29, 2011)


arrowJoin Us in Welcoming Dr. Ruddy Mell to the FERA Team

We are preparing to welcome Dr. William “Ruddy” Mell to Seattle as a research combustion engineer with FERA. Filling this position was a priority in advancing the team’s modeling capabilities in the areas of smoldering and residual combustion processes. 

Ruddy, currently in Boulder, Colorado, works as a program manager for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Engineering Laboratory. In recent years, he has been cooperating with the Forest Service on the development of fire models. Ruddy’s research focuses on flaming combustion, heat transfer, fire spread, and the wildland-urban interface. He has a strong interest in the use of physical models for fires in vegetation, structures, and the wildland-urban interface. To support such work, he collaborates with colleagues to conduct field measurements in all these environments to validate the models. He will begin working for the Forest Service on April 11, and plans to move his family to Seattle this summer.

A native of Minnesota, Ruddy earned a B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington. In 2001 was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers from the White House. (March 28, 2011)


arrowFERA Presents at International Association of Landscape Ecology Meeting

The U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) is meeting in this year in Portland, Oregon. On Monday, April 4th, Don McKenzie’s coauthor Natasha Stavros will present in the poster session. On Wednesday, April 6th, three FERA scientists will present their current research. (March 28, 2011)

  • Natasha Stavros -- A Stochastic Simulation Model to Predict Future Air Quality in Protected Areas.
  • Stephanie Hart -- Simulating Fire Hazard Across Landscapes Through Time: Integrating VDDT and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS)
  • Morris Johnson -- Evaluating the Effects of Forest Restoration Thinning on Fire Hazard and Area Burned in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed.
  • Maureen Kennedy -- Using Multi-criteria Analysis to Incorporate a Fire Model into Long-term Projections of Watershed Processes
  • Morris Johnson -- Quantifying Fire Hazard and Fire Behavior Following a Windstorm in Southwest Oregon (U.S.A.) using the FCCS.

 

arrowNorth Cascadia Adaptation Project Conducts Final Two Educational Workshops

Completing the basic educational phase of the North Cascadia Adaptation Project, workshops were held on February 23 in Wenatchee, Washington with the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forest personnel and on March 2 in Eatonville, Washington with Mt. Rainier National Park personnel. The agendas and presentations from these workshops are available online. (March 28, 2011)



arrowFERA Participates in the 44th North American Forestry Commission’s Fire Management Working Group Meeting

Ernesto Alvarado gave a presentation in Chetumal, Mexico at the 44th Meeting of the Fire Management Working Group, North American Forestry Commission. He presented a talk on “Climate Change and Wildfires: Adaptation Strategies in National Forests of the Pacific Northwest.” Other participants from the U.S. Forest Service included Mike Hilbruner, Program Leader for the Fire Systems Research; Dale Dague from Fire and Aviation Management, Mary Ann Fajvan from the Northern Research Station, and Isidoro Solis form the Sequoia National Forest. (March 28, 2011)

 

arrowMechanical Pile Consumption Calculations Added to Pile Calculator

FERA’s Handpile Calculator, released in 2009, has been enhanced and now includes calculations for machine-built piles. These additional calculations come directly from the work of Dr. Colin Hardy (USFS Missoula Fire Lab) as implemented in FERA’s Consume 3.0 software. Clint Wright and Paige Eagle worked together to incorporate the machine pile equations in both the online calculator as well as a version of the calculator that can be downloaded and used when Internet access is unavailable. We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project 10-S-02-2. (January 27, 2011)

arrowPreparing for Climate Change in the Northern Cascade Range

The newly-formed North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP) is a Forest Service–National Park Service collaboration on climate change adaptation. It will be addressing adaptation across a 6-million acre landscape of the Cascade Range in Washington, a region that includes Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park Complex, and Mount Rainier National Park. The partnership will address climate change education, conduct a vulnerability assessment of the effects of climate change on natural resources, and develop adaptation options that support sustainable resource management in a warmer climate. FERA’s Crystal Raymond and Dave Peterson, along with Regina Rochefort of the National Park Service, are directing the partnership.

Funding is being provided by U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the National Park Service, with collaboration from University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. Partners to date include Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Target completion is May 2012. It will be similar to soon-to-be-published Olympic Peninsula case study (Washington), but more complex because of the larger area and more participants. (January 27, 2011)

arrowCollecting Fuels Data for Collaborative Research Burns

FERA’s well-travelled field crew spent most of January in the field collecting fuels data in advance of three prescribed burns planned for early February. These burns will take place at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida panhandle, and will be well-monitored by a self-organized group of fire scientists who will study fuels, fire behavior, combustion, smoke, air quality, and weather. This collaboration, known as RxCadre, conducted a similar set of burns in 2008 both at Eglin and at the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center in southern Georgia. Their goal is to collect and analyze many types of data simultaneously to better understand the total heat budget during wildland fires. This is a rare opportunity in fire science to bring over 25 scientists together with a common goal of connecting research results. (January 27, 2011)

arrowConnecting with Fire Practitioners Around the Country

Roger Ottmar, a research forester with FERA, continues to teach at the smoke management classes (Rx410), fire effect classes (Rx310), and Technical Fire Management modules around the country. Teaching parts of a curriculum he helped develop for the National Wildland Fire Training Program, Roger shares his many years of knowledge with fire and resource specialists, fire crew members, burn bosses, and fire analysts, along with many others, during presentations that last from 1 hour to 2 days. In January alone, he taught fuels workshops in North Carolina and Minnesota, and Rx410 classes in Oregon and Minnesota. In the next few months, he will teach in Montana, Arizona, and Tennessee. Classes are arranged and offered by local agencies. (January 27, 2011)

arrowSeattle's Approach to Fuel Management in Watershed Guided by Morris Johnson’s Research

FERA’s research helped direct upland forest habitat restoration practices at Cedar River Municipal Watershed, a water provider for the City of Seattle. The strategic plan, linked below, used Morris’ fire hazard assessment and fuel decomposition studies in the watershed to address the goal of reducing the risk of catastrophic disturbances that could threaten drinking water quality or habitat for species of concern.  The assessment of fire hazard found that the high hazard areas were almost entirely in young, dense forests, due to dense canopies and low live crowns. Restoration thinning treatments in these forests did not substantially change fire hazard, and various surface fuel treatments were largely ineffective in changing fire hazard over time. (December 2, 2010)

arrowNASA Interns Return to Methow Valley to Validate Dataset for Image Classification of Large-Scale Mountain Pine Beetle Outbreak

FERA team member, Dr. Susan Prichard, was featured on in an article in the Bay Area Automated Mapping Association (BAAMA) journal. She and FERA’s Travis Freed spent part of this past summer advising students associated with the NASA DEVELOP program. The goal of the DEVELOP program is to demonstrate how NASA science measurements and predictions can be utilized at a local level, county state, federal and tribal levels.

The NASA internship crew evaluated a combination of available remote sensed imagery (MODIS, ASTER, Hyperion, and Landsat TM) to classify and map different stages of insect attack in a 300,000-acre mountain pine beetle outbreak in Okanogan–Wenatchee National Forest.  They conducted field work to collect a validation dataset for their image classification. (December 1, 2010)

arrowUsing a Stochastic Model and Cross-scale Analysis to Evaluate Controls on Historical Low-severity Fire Regimes

Maureen Kennedy, a University of Washington collaborator, coauthored this paper with FERA's Don McKenzie; it was published in the journal Landscape Ecology. They demonstrate that cross-scale properties of the fire-scar record, even without historical fuels and weather data, document how complex topography creates strong bottom-up controls on fire spread. This control is weaker in simpler topography, and may be compromised in a future climate with more severe weather events. (December 1, 2010)

arrowFERA Contributes to Workshop on Climate Change in Northern Colorado

FERA’s David L. Peterson and Crystal Raymond participated in the workshop “Border Crossing: Preparing for and Adapting to Climate Change Effects in Northern Colorado”. The workshop, held in Estes Park, Colorado, provided an opportunity for resource managers to learn about and discuss climate change impacts and adaptation options. Its goal was to encourage agencies to work across jurisdictional boundaries on a shared vision and common approaches for managing natural resources, and lively discussions were held about existing cross-jurisdictional management and the potential for coordination of adaptation efforts among agencies.  Dave presented on management options for adapting to climate change in an uncertain future. (December 1, 2010)


 

arrowSeattle's Approach to Fuel Management in Watershed Guided by Morris Johnson’s Research

FERA’s research helped direct upland forest habitat restoration practices at Cedar River Municipal Watershed, a water provider for the City of Seattle. The strategic plan, linked below, used Morris’ fire hazard assessment and fuel decomposition studies in the watershed to address the goal of reducing the risk of catastrophic disturbances that could threaten drinking water quality or habitat for species of concern.  The assessment of fire hazard found that the high hazard areas were almost entirely in young, dense forests, due to dense canopies and low live crowns. Restoration thinning treatments in these forests did not substantially change fire hazard, and various surface fuel treatments were largely ineffective in changing fire hazard over time. (December 1, 2010)

arrowCrystal Raymond Presented at The Nature Conservancy Fire Learning Network Workshop

On November 9th, Crystal Raymond participated in The Nature Conservancy’s National Fire Learning Network workshop in Rockport, Texas. The U.S. Fire Learning Network is a joint effort of The Nature Conservancy, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. Network collaborators work together on projects to restore fire-adapted ecosystems. Crystal served as a scientific expert at a symposium titled “Fire, Carbon, and Climate Change Adaptation.” The objective of the symposium was to provide collaborators with the latest scientific information on the linkages between fire management, carbon cycling, and climate change adaptation. This information can then be used by practitioners to consider changes in their fire management practices that will enhance carbon cycling outcomes and ecological resilience to climate change.   (December 1, 2010)

 

Stop By and Visit in Spokane

If you are planning to attend the 3rd  Fire Behavior and Fuels Workshop in Spokane, Washington the last week in October, please drop by and visit the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab exhibit. The FERA team, along with our partners in the Atmosphere and Fire Interactions team (AirFIRE) will be showing our newest research products and papers, and would be pleased to talk with you about our research. (October 18, 2010)

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arrowPortuguese Visit PWFSL to Learn about FCCS

FERA’s Roger Ottmar hosted Dr. Jorge Amorim, from the University of Aveiro, Portugal during two weeks in October.  Jorge will be leading an effort to use the Fuel Characteristic Classification System to build and map fuelbeds for Portugal to enhance the ability to estimate smoke emission impacts from wildfires during wildfire season. Jorge and Roger met with FERA’s Dr. Susan Prichard, of the University of Washington, to begin planning the work to meet the commitments of this project, and Jorge was also given a tour of the 2006 Tripod Complex fires. The following day, they traveled to Idaho and participated in a prescribed underburn conducted by Dr. Penny Morgan,  professor at the University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources.  Back at PWFSL, Jorge presented the seminar, “Fire and Emissions Research in Portugal,” at both the University of Washington and at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab before returning home. (October 18, 2010)


arrowWelcome Back to Dr. Crystal Raymond

FERA welcomes back a good friend, Dr. Crystal Raymond, on a postdoctoral appointment under David L. Peterson. She will be facilitating the North Cascadia Adaptation Partnership (NCAP), a Forest Service-National Park Service collaboration to develop a vulnerability assessment and climate change adaptation plan for a 6-million acre landscape in Washington. Crystal worked on the FERA field crew from 2000 to 2002 before returning to school for advanced degrees. (October 18, 2010)

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arrowLake Tahoe FCCS Fuelbeds Available Online

Current and potential future Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) fuelbeds have been completed for California’s Lake Tahoe Basin. This allows the Interdisciplinary Team to compare among the various fuel treatment alternatives and characterize them for carbon accounting, potential fire behavior, and potential fire hazard. This information will improve the planning of restoration projects and serve as a common platform for communication among managers, decisions makers, and the public.  These supplementary fuelbeds are available online. (October 18, 2010)

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arrowSharing Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in Scotland

FERA’s David L. Peterson and Crystal Raymond travelled to Perth, Scotland  in early October to present talks on adapting to climate change through science-management partnerships, and the effects of changing fire regimes on carbon dynamics. They attended  the Global Change and the World’s Mountains meeting organized by the international Mountain Research Initiative, and the Centre for Mountain Studies. (October 18, 2010)

arrowKorean Visitors Hosted by Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

The Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory (PWFSL) was honored to host Drs. Myuong-Soo Won and Byungdoo Lee, fire scientists from the Korea Forest Research Institute; and Rak-Sam Ko and Gi-Ho Shim, deputy directors of the Korea Forest Service. FERA’s Morris Johnson and Ernesto Alvarado organized a schedule that included an overview of the lab’s research in fuels, fire, and smoke. Dr. Su-Young Woo, former student of the University of Washington’s School of Forest Resources and currently back on sabbatical from the University of Seoul, also participated. The metric version of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) made its debut for these distinguished guests and attracted considerable interest. Visitors’ interests included the development of a fuel characterization and fire behavior system for Korea, fire weather prediction, and fire management.

The delegation also visited with researchers from the Canadian Forest Service and the Missoula Fire Sciences lab in Montana. (September 24, 2010)

arrowOkanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Leadership Interested in Results of Fuel Treatment Effectiveness Study

FERA’s Susan Prichard, a cooperator at the University of Washington, was invited to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Leadership Team meeting to share results of her recently-completed fuel treatment effectiveness study. Prichard studied the effects of previous fuel treatments on fire severity during the 2006 Tripod Complex fires in the Methow Valley, and continues to conduct research to improve understanding of fuel treatment effectiveness. The team was interested in how this might apply to prescribed burning programs and their updated Dry Forest Strategy.

We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under projects JFSP #07-1-2-13 and #09-1-01-9. (September 24, 2010)

arrowReflections on 10 Years of the Joint Fire Science Program

The interagency Joint Fire Science Program published an issue of Fire Science Digest that focuses on the thoughts of 10 prominent fire researchers on the program and its accomplishments, challenges, and future direction. In this digest, FERA’s David L. Peterson offers his thoughts on the importance of integrating research across disciplines and in focusing future research agendas. Interviews for this issue were conducted at the 4th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress in Savannah, Georgia late in 2009. (September 24, 2010)

arrowDemonstration of FERA’s Suite of Fuel Management Tools at Portugal Meeting

FERA will be demonstrating its suite of four fuel management products during a workshop at the 6th International Conference on Forest Fire Research, to be held in Coimbra, Portgual November 15-18. “A Suite of Fuel Management Tools: Fuel Characteristic Classification System, Natural Fuels Photo Series, Digital Photo Series, and Consume 3_0,”  will be offered on morning of the 13th of November at Hotel Vila Galé  If you are interested in participating in this event, please register soon. Space is limited. There is no additional fee for the workshop if you have registered for the entire conference. (September 24, 2010)

arrowIntegration Work Continues to Connect FCCS and Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool

Integration of the Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) is the focus of FERA’s Jessica Halofsky, a University of Washington collaborator. Individually, these two valuable products are used by many land managers throughout the United States.  Integrating the two will enhance the utility of VDDT by allowing simulation of vegetation composition, structure and related fire potential across a landscape over time. 

This research is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. (September 24, 2010)

arrowSpace Available in PWFSL Workshops in Spokane

Limited spots remain for attending the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory’s two half-day workshops on fuels and smoke tools during the “3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference,” October 25-29 in Spokane, WA. Although the workshop sessions are separate, their content is highly complementary. (September 24, 2010)

arrowFuel Treatments Reduce Wildfire Severity, Tree Mortality in Washington Forest (Press Release) (August 25, 2010)

The Pacific Northwest Research Station announced the publication of a research paper on the effectiveness of fuel treatments in eastern Cascades of northern Washington. Several news outlets picked it up, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, Central Oregon's KTVZ.com, the Wenatchee World, Omak Chronicle, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Eureka Alert! (August 30, 2010)

Clint Wright Awarded Ph.D. with Research on Shrub-Dominated Ecosystems
FERA is pleased to congratulate Dr. Clint Wright, research forester with the team, on earning his Ph.D. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. His dissertation, “Effects of Disturbance and Fuelbed Succession on Spatial Patterns of Fuel, Fire Hazard, and Carbon; and Fuel Consumption in Shrub-dominated Ecosystems,” is available online.(August 30, 2010)


arrowMorris Johnson Visits Southern University’s Urban Forestry Program

FERA’s Morris Johnson was invited to give presentations in 8 undergraduate and graduate classes in the Urban Forestry program at his alma mater, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his visit, he presented summaries of his research projects and job responsibilities as a Forest Service scientist in the Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW). He also used this opportunity to inform the undergraduate and graduate students of the potential opportunities that exist in research and in the National Forest System. This trip was supported in part by PNW’s Civil Rights program. (August 31, 2010)

 

Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory Offers 2 Workshops in Spokane
Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory will be leading two half-day workshops on fuels and smoke tools during the “3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference,” October 25-29 in Spokane, WA. Although the workshop sessions are separate, their content is highly complementary. Early registration is highly recommended as space is limited.(August 30, 2010)

arrowNatural Fuels Photo Series Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Mexico Photo Series Now Online—The photo series “Quantifying Forest Fuels in México: Montane Subtropical Forests of the Sierra Madre del Sur, and Temperate Forests and Montane Shrubland of the Northern Sierra Madre Oriental” has been made available in an electronic format. It was published in 2007 by the FERA team, University of Washington, and the Instituto Manantlán de Ecología y Conservación de la Biodiversidad (IMECBIO) of the Universidad de Guadalajara, with support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the USFS International Programs, the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza A.C. (FMCN) and the Fundación Manantlán para la Biodiversidad de Occidente A.C. (MABIO). (July 28, 2010)

Brazil Uses FERA Photo Series to Estimate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Data and photos from FERA’s Brazil photo series on the cerrado (grasslands) was used in the production of the high-profile report "Genesis Forest Project: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in the State of Tocantins, Brazil." The framework for this report is the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) initiative. It is expected that the Mexico photo series will be used in a similar manner for a REDD showcase in that country. The report is in English. (July 28, 2010)

Spotted Owl Nesting Habitat Photo Series—Field work began this month to develop a natural fuels photo series that portrays high-quality spotted owl nesting habitat. Focus is on the national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands in the Pacific Northwest. It is expected to provide a common tool for biologists, fuels specialists, and silviculturalists to discuss owl habitat and potential fuel treatments. FERA’s Bob Vihnanek is making initial visits to photograph sites, and the field crew is following after to do a fuels inventory. This project is funded by the U.S. Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management regional fire management offices, and support provided by local wildlife and fire specialists. (July 28, 2010)

arrowFCCS Layers in LANDFIRE

FERA and the LANDFIRE team collaborated together to develop and map a set of FCCS fuelbeds to represent complete coverage of current vegetation types designated in LANDFIRE. Coverage of this GIS layer is at a 30-m resolution across the continental United States. The fuelbed map will provide managers and scientists detailed fuelbed information and fire potential assessment. The GIS FCCS fuelbed layer for the continental United States is located on the LANDFIRE website. Fuelbeds to represent Alaska will be developed and mapped in FY 2011.(July 28, 2010)

arrowFERA Plans Collaboration with Fire Scientists in Portugal

Roger Ottmar and the University of Washington’s Ernesto Alvarado travelled to Portugal in late May to meet with colleagues Professor's Ana Miranda and Carlos Borrego and Dr. Jorge Amorim from the University of Aveiro. They presented seminars, lectured, and planned collaborative research with Portugal’s fire researchers. Shared themes identified were public and firefighter smoke exposure study and data analysis, fuelbed development and mapping for Portugal and other countries in the European Union, and fire behavior modelling.


Roger, Ernesto, Bob Vihnanek, and Susan Prichard, all part of the FERA team, will be attending the 6th International Conference on Fire Behavior Research Fire Behavior in Coimbra, Portugal this November, presenting papers, leading a FERA fuels workshop, and continuing discussions on collaborative research with the University of Aveiro. (July 28, 2010)



arrowOpportunity to Provide Feedback on IFT-DSS Development

Are you interested in joining a user group to evaluate early versions of the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System? To learn more about this developing integrated system of multiple models, just review the briefing below. If you are still interested, contact Stacy Drury with Sonoma Technology Inc. at sdrury@sonomatech.com. (July 28, 2010)

 

arrowFCCS Layers in LANDFIRE

FERA and the LANDFIRE team collaborated together to develop and map a set of FCCS fuelbeds to represent complete coverage of current vegetation types designated in LANDFIRE. Coverage of this GIS layer is at a 30-m resolution across the continental United States. The fuelbed map will provide managers and scientists detailed fuelbed information and fire potential assessment. The GIS FCCS fuelbed layer for the continental United States is located on the LANDFIRE website. Fuelbeds to represent Alaska will be developed and mapped in FY 2011.(July 28, 2010)

arrowFERA Plans Collaboration with Fire Scientists in Portugal

Roger Ottmar and the University of Washington’s Ernesto Alvarado travelled to Portugal in late May to meet with colleagues Professor's Ana Miranda and Carlos Borrego and Dr. Jorge Amorim from the University of Aveiro. They presented seminars, lectured, and planned collaborative research with Portugal’s fire researchers. Shared themes identified were public and firefighter smoke exposure study and data analysis, fuelbed development and mapping for Portugal and other countries in the European Union, and fire behavior modelling.


Roger, Ernesto, Bob Vihnanek, and Susan Prichard, all part of the FERA team, will be attending the 6th International Conference on Fire Behavior Research Fire Behavior in Coimbra, Portugal this November, presenting papers, leading a FERA fuels workshop, and continuing discussions on collaborative research with the University of Aveiro. (July 28, 2010)



arrowOpportunity to Provide Feedback on IFT-DSS Development

Are you interested in joining a user group to evaluate early versions of the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System? To learn more about this developing integrated system of multiple models, just review the briefing below. If you are still interested, contact Stacy Drury with Sonoma Technology Inc. at sdrury@sonomatech.com. (July 28, 2010)

arrowFERA Contributes to Discussion of BLM Collaborative Forestry Pilot Project

Morris Johnson was invited by the BLM's Krisann Kosel to spend Saturday, April 10, at a dry forest stand in Oregon's Roseburg district contributing his knowledge of how forest thinning affects fire hazard. During a field trip to possible thinning sites, discussion took place among stakeholders participating in the Roseburg District Collaborative Forestry Pilot project. The entire day was facilitated, and included documentation of discussions on video.

This pilot project is designed to accelerate the development of habitat components for listed species, reduce the likelihood of uncharacteristically intense wildfires and provide a reliable and economically viable timber commodity to local communities. (May 25, 2010)

arrowSoftware Engineer Kjell Swedin Joins the FERA Team

FERA is excited to announce that Kjell Swedin, a computer engineer at the University of Washington, has joined the team. He is working with contractors, Sonoma Tech, on development of the Fire and Fuels Application – a combination of FCCS, Consume, and FEPS. His work is being supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). (May 25, 2010)

arrowWorkshop Offered at 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Workshop

"Suite of Fire and Fuels Management Tools," a 1/2 day training, will be offered as part of training offered in the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab (PWFSL) Joint Workshop on Monday, October 25, 2010 in Spokane Washington at the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference. Information on development and use of FCCS, Consume, and the Natural Fuels Photo Series will be presented. Registration is required. (May 25, 2010)

arrowLocal Forest Briefed on Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab Projects

The FERA scientific team met with the Forest Leadership Team of Washington’s Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab on May 19. FERA staff briefed national forest staff on current research and discussed potential projects related to fire and fuels management and climate change adaptation.(May 25, 2010)

arrowPeterson Presents at Tribal Forestry Conference

FERA’s David L. Peterson gave a presentation on the effects of climate change on Western forests at the Climate Change and Tribal Forestry Conference hosted by Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington.  This conference included participation by several tribes, forest managers, and regional scientific experts.  The Intertribal Timber Council and other tribal representatives will be examining how tribal knowledge and Western science can be merged to facilitate adaptation to a warmer climate.(May 25, 2010)

arrowVideo Lecture Series on Climate Change and Fish Available Online

The lecture series is the result of a one-day workshop, entitled 'Climate Change Impacts on Olympic Peninsula Salmon', that took place in November, 2009 at Olympic National Forest Headquarters in Olympia, Washington. Many top regional experts in the fields of fisheries and aquatic science gave presentations on the potential effects of climate change on fish and aquatic habitats in the western U.S., along with information on potential adaptation actions that can be taken in response to climate change.

The workshop was conducted as a part of the WestWide Climate Initiative's Olympic Climate Change Case Study. (March 18, 2010)

arrowDormant Season Data Collection Complete for Southeast Season-of-Burning Study
 
FERA’s busy and hardworking field crew successfully completed dormant season burns for the season of burn study in Florida (5 burns at Eglin Air Force Base, 3 burns at the Apalachicola National Forest and 1 burn at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge).  They also finished pre-burn sampling for the growing season units that are scheduled to be burned later this year. (March 18, 2010)

arrowPeterson Featured in “Sustaining Our Northwest World” Lecture Series

FERA’s leader, Dave Peterson, presented an engaging lecture, “Climate, Forests, and Future: a View from the Treeline” at the University of Washington’s lecture series March 11. His presentation explored how interdisciplinary science can help society prepare for climate change. The newly-formed College of the Environment and its School of Forest Resources also honored both Dave and their long-standing partnership with the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab. The entire talk was videotaped for later posting and viewing on both the UW website and UWTV.  (March 18, 2010)

arrowMini-Workshop Held at the University of Idaho

FERA taught a mini-fuels workshop at the University of Idaho in early March for their 401-series forest management class.  Fifteen students participated along with Chad Hoffman and Dr. Phil Higuera, a recently-hired Assistant Professor of Fire Ecology. The workshop concentrated on FERA tools including the FCCS, Consume, and the photo series.  (March 18, 2010)

arrowFERA Crew Sampling Treated Fuel Sites at Savannah River Site

The FERA field crew spent 14 days inventorying fuels at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina during March. The sites inventoried represented various fuel treatments including a control, chipping, prescribed fire, and herbicide.  The data will be used to develop FCCS fuelbeds and calculate FCCS fire potentials and surface fire behavior estimates for evaluating the fuels treatment effectiveness. (March 18, 2010)

arrowFCCS-FVS Integration Work in High Gear

Conceptual design for integration of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) is complete, and the many connections involved in the integration are in development. For example, programmers are working on a tool to convert field sample vegetation (FSVEG) and forest inventory analysis (FIA) into FVS format. The value added by this integration includes the ability to calculate FCCS fire potentials from stand tree list data. FERA’s Morris Johnson is coordinating this integration project. (January 27, 2010)

arrow3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference Call for Papers

FERA team members Ernesto Alvarado and Morris Johnson are on the planning committee for the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuel Conference, October 25-26, 2010, to be held in Spokane, Washington.  The call for papers has come out, and submissions are due by March 15, 2010. (January 27, 2010)

arrowAdapting to Climate Change in National Forests: A Workshop for Resource Managers

FERA's David L. Peterson will be leading a 2-day national workshop in April to provide the scientific foundation and tools for preparing adaptation strategies on national forests, communicate scientific knowledge and principles, share recent experiences and approaches, and solicit feedback on needs and priorities to assist future implementation of adaptation strategies. Attendance is limited, and nominations are being solicited from managers in the Forest Service and other agencies. This work is funded by the Forest Service Global Climate Change Research Program.(February 1, 2010)

arrowNorth American Wildfire Emission Study Featured

Development of the Wildland Fire Emissions Information System (WFEIS), which will calculate fire emissions across North America, was featured in the Fall 2009 issue of The Canadian Smoke Newsletter. Spatial data layers built with FERA’s Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and Consume model, are integrated into this new system, with Don McKenzie, Roger Ottmar, and Ernesto Alvarado coordinating this part of the project.

(January 27, 2010)


2009

arrowField Work in the South Continues after Holiday Break

FERA’s field crew continues to focus their efforts on collecting preburn data in Florida to support research sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program. One project takes a look at the effects of the season of burning, while the other is validating consumption models used for smoke management planning. Data is being collected on Eglin Air Force Base, the Apalachicola National Forest, and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. After the holiday break they will return to this same area for at least another six weeks. (December 21, 2009)

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arrowAdvanced Smoke Modeling Workshop Focuses on North Carolina

Roger Ottmar was a lead instructor at the advanced smoke modeling workshop for fire and fuels managers held in Kinston, North Carolina December 14-18. He provided 16 hours of instruction during day and evening sessions on how to build fuelbeds using the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and the photo series. He also taught participants to estimate fuel consumption and emissions using the Consume 3.0 program. The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources organized the workshop, and the instructors Bill Jackson of Southeast Region and Gary Acthemeier of the Southern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service also participated. Several suggestions made during this workshop will be used to modify both tools to better represent southern fuels and burning conditions. (December 21, 2009).

arrowGood Clearcuts?  Young Stands Prove Resilient to Wildfire

Christina Lyons-Tinsley completed her Master’s research on postfire effects of the 2006 Tripod Fire in cooperation with her graduate adviser David L. Peterson. Her study, conducted on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, showed that stands that had been clearcut, prescribe burned, and regenerated 20-30 years prior to the wildfire had higher survival than clearcut areas without fuel treatments and much higher survival than adjacent mature, mixed conifer stands.  The young stands are the only living trees in much of the mid-elevation landscape of the Tripod Fire.  This suggests that young stands can be resilient to intense wildfire if they have low surface fuels. (December 21, 2009)

arrowUW and FERA Search for Forest Ecologist and Software Engineer

The University of Washington, School of Forest Resources, is advertising for a forest ecologist to assist with the integration of two commonly used models to aid in the assessment of potential changes in vegetation and fire hazard under different management and disturbance scenarios across landscapes in the western United States.

A software engineer position  is also being advertised, with duties to include providing technical expertise in designing and programming computing technology in support of a fire, fuels, and combustion research group composed of university faculty and researchers, scientists from cooperating agencies and contractors.

Work for both positions will be done under a cooperative agreement on research conducted by scientists at the School of Forest Resources and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory. (November 22, 2009)

arrowDVD Short Course on Adapting to Climate Change

The U.S. Forest Service’s western research stations have released an interactive short course that presents current scientific knowledge on adapting to climate variability in wildland management. Titled “Adapting to Climate Change: A Short Course for Land Managers,” the course is available as a DVD or online at the Climate Change Resource Center. FERA's David L. Peterson is featured giving presentations on climate and stress interactions, and on case studies of adaptation on the Olympic and Tahoe national forests. (November 16, 2009)

arrow3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference to Reflect on Lessons Learned

Mark your calendars for the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference to be held in Spokane, Washington October 25-29, 2010. The theme is “Learning from the Past to Help Guide Us in the Future”, and it is being sponsored by the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF). This is an early announcement, and details on the submission of papers have yet to be finalized. FERA’s Morris Johnson and Ernesto Alvarado are members of the planning committee. (November 22, 2009)

arrowFERA Presents at the Fire Ecology and Management Conference

FERA is gearing up to show its stuff at the 4th Fire Ecology and Management Conference in Savannah, Georgia from November 30 to December 4. On the first day, a 4 hour workshop on the suite of fire management tools will be offered, and in subsequent days members of the FERA team and its University of Washington cooperators will present 10 talks, along with posters and an exhibit. (November 22, 2009)

arrowDon McKenzie Discusses Climate Change with Forest Service Chief

Climate change and wildfire interactions was the topic of a video conference held on November 12th between FERA’s Don McKenzie and Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. With a focus on the American West, they discussed expected increases in fire under climate change scenarios, the uncertainty in how fires will interact with other ecological disturbances, a concern with uncertainty of impacts at the landscape scale, and the challenges that new climate regimes pose to wildland managers. Representatives from the Forest Service Washington Office’s Policy Analysis, Legislative Affairs, and Research and Development branches were also present. (November 22, 2009)

arrowResearch Update Provided to Forest Service Fuels Managers

Fuel managers from the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region met in Portland on November 16 to go over new policy and management issues for fuels management in the national forests.  Roger Ottmar and David L. Peterson represented the FERA team and gave updates on fuels research and technology transfer. (November 23, 2009)

arrowFinal Climate Adaptation Workshop Focused on Fish

The final workshop on adapting forest management to climate change was conducted on November 17th and considered the future of fish and their habitats. FERA’s Jessica Halofsky, a University of Washington cooperator, and David L. Peterson led this process with Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park resource managers, with both the method and results to be presented for possible broader application across other landscapes. Results will become a component of the adaptation plan for both organizations. (November 23, 2009)


arrowHandpile Biomass Estimator Now Available Online

Clint Wright, along with University of Washington cooperator Paige Eagle, developed an online tool that managers can use to estimate the biomass of hand-piled fuels and the emissions produced when they are burned. As the burning of such piles becomes more common and widespread, this calculator offers a way for managers to more effectively manage the smoke that is generated. (October 19, 2009)

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arrowWorkshop on Integrating Ecological and Fuel Management
Morris Johnson attended the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s “Creating Stand-Level Prescriptions to Integrate Ecological & Fuel Management Objectives for Dry Forests of the Eastern Cascade Range” workshop in Redmond, OR October 13-15, 2009. Funded by the Joint Fire Science Program, it was designed to bring together practitioners from multiple disciplines to discuss and develop stand-level prescriptions that further conservation of the northern spotted owl and to integrate ecological and fuel management objectives for dry forest restoration in the eastern Cascades of Washington, Oregon and California. (October 19, 2009)

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arrowWestern Mountain Initiative Annual Meeting Held in Santa Fe

Don McKenzie and Dave Peterson attended the annual coordination meeting of the Western Mountain Initiative (WMI) in Santa Fe, NM.  WMI is a consortium of USGS, Forest Service, and university scientists who are studying the effects of climatic variability and change on mountain ecosystems in the western United States.  A new five-year phase of WMI focuses on syntheses of empirical data, integration across resource areas, and modeling of expected changes in resource condition due to a warmer climate.(October 19, 2009)

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arrowWildlife and Climate Change Workshops Held on the Olympic Peninsula

Jessica Halofsky and Dave Peterson convened workshops on the effects of climate change on the vulnerability and adaptability of wildlife on the Olympic Peninsula, as part of the Westwide Climate Initiative.  A small group of scientists worked with resource managers from Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park to determine vulnerability of resources to a warmer climate and to develop adaptation options.  These were the third set of of four workshop topics focused on a Forest Service-National Park Service collaboration to develop a climate change action plan for the Olympic Peninsula.
The results of this process, combined with those of two other national forests in the western U.S., will be extended for broader application across other landscapes and ownerships. (October 19, 2009)

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arrowNewly Published Information Kit Connects Stakeholders with Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

The Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory (PWFSL) recently released an information kit that will help to connect the media, congressional staffers, and other stakeholders with its fire science and smoke research and expertise. The kit contains short fact sheets that discuss the fire and smoke research being conducted at PWFSL, researchers based at PWFSL who have expertise in climate and climate change, fuels, fire ecology, fire weather, and smoke and emissions, and key fire and smoke software and tools developed at PWFSL. The kit also contains a listing of recommended publications, complete with embedded links to electronic copies available online. (August 19, 2009)

arrowAdditional Photo Series for Brazil a Possibility

Characterizing fuels in the cerrado ecosystem and other regions of Brazil was the center of discussions on a recent trip to Brasilia sponsored by U.S. Forest Service International Program. FERA’s Roger Ottmar and Bob Vihnanek, along with long-time collaborator Ernesto Alvarado of the University of Washington, met with colleagues from the University of Brasilia to consider various possibilities for extending the natural fuels photo series. The initial volume was published in 2001 in both Portuguese and English, includes sites in 5 physiognomic forms. (August 19, 2009)

arrowSpanish Scientist Explores U.S. Fire and Fuels Research

FERA is pleased to host a 2-month visit by Spanish fire scientist Albert Alvarez Nebot. He is visiting PWFSL from the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona to work with Morris Johnson and Ernesto Alvarado on fuels characterization. Mr. Alvarez recently presented a seminar on the relationship between forest fuels, fire types and severity in Catalonia, Spain.

arrowWork Begins to Study Effects of Season of Burn on Southeastern Fuel Dynamics

Next month, work will begin on research sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program to look at the effect of season of burning on fuel regrowth and accumulation following prescribed fires in typical southern fuelbeds. FERA’s Clint Wright, Bob Vihnanek and Jim Cronan will identify potential study sites at Elgin Air Force Base and nearby Blackwater River State Park, the Apalachicola National Forest, and St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge on the Florida panhandle. Field sampling will begin this winter.

arrowEconomic Recovery Act Invests in FERA’s Fire Research

FERA recently received money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve fuels characterization, fuels management, and fuels consumption software, and integrate all parts to improve easy of use. Investments will be made to improve the architecture of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS), and advance integration of it with the Digital Photo Series, Consume 3.0, and the Fire Emission Production System. In addition, FCCS will be integrated into the Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT) with this funding. Work is expected to be completed in December 2010, and be accomplished by university and private partners. (July 30, 2009)

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arrowIntegration of Forest Vegetation Simulator and FCCS Tackled on Multiple Fronts

Research by Morris Johnson into integrating FERA’s Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) with the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) is proceeding in cooperation with three major partners.

Funding from the Tahoe Science Program is allowing Dr. Johnson to use FCCS and FVS to evaluate alternative fuel treatments in the South Shore wildland urban interface area.  Discussions with planning forester Duncan Leao and silviculturalist Rita Mustatia led to consensus on the methods to populate the shrub and nonwoody strata in the FCCS. 

Dr. Johnson met with Jim McCarter, Rural Technology Initiative, in North Carolina to share with him plans developed in Lake Tahoe and their application to the Forest Service Global Change Project linking FCCS fuel loading mapped at landscape scales to tree information used for stand-level treatment decisions to better identify fire reduction priorities.

On the software portion of the integration, FVS programmers Stephaine Rebain and Don Vandendriesche from Fort Collins, Colorado are working on the most efficient way to include FCCS fuelbeds in the code of FVS. (July 30, 2009)

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arrowAustralian Researcher Concludes Visit to Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab

Australian scientist Jennifer Hollis spent the last month working with Dr. Roger Ottmar studying fuels and consumption issues. They spent time in the office and field discussing equations from Consume 3.0, reviewing a manuscript, looking at how the Fuel Characteristic Classification System could be adapted for Australia, and doing an overview of the Australian fuel assessment system.

On July 10th she presented a seminar at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab on woody fuel consumption in Australian forest fires. Jennifer’s interests have taken her to the Missoula Fire Lab to explore more.(July 30, 2009)

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arrowNASA Interns Test Use of Satellite Imagery to Study Impact of Fuel Treatments on Carbon Emissions

Over the summers of 2008 and 2009, interns from the NASA Ames DEVELOP Program have been working with FERA’s Dr. Susan Prichard on a project in conjunction with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in eastern Washington. The 2009 project uses ground-based measurements and satellite imagery to evaluate the impact of fuel treatments on carbon emissions during the Tripod Complex fire. Two fuel treatments -- partial harvests alone, and with prescribed burns -- were selected. (July 30, 2009)

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arrowFERA Supports Cooperation among U.S. Forest Service Research, the Brazilian Agriculture Research Center (EMBRAPA), and the Brazilian Forest Service

FERA supports the development of a cooperation program among U.S. Forest Service Research, Brazilian Agriculture Research Center (EMBRAPA), and the Brazilian Forest Service. A Forest Service Research delegation headed by Dr. Carlos Rodriguez- Franco, Director of Fire and Vegetation Research, attended a workshop last April at EMBRAPA’s Headquarters in Brasilia. The objective was to identify opportunities for cooperation between the two countries to develop a forest research and training agenda.

Three general themes were discussed: (1) forest management and monitoring, (2) climate change, fire, and environmental services, and (3) institutional development and technology transfer.

The program is led by Dr. Marcus Vinicio de Oliveira, a senior scientist from EMBRAPA-Acre on a two-year visiting scientist appointment with FERA in Seattle. Dr. Ernesto Alvarado, professor of wildland fire sciences at the University of Washington, represented FERA at the workshop. Other U.S. Forest Service participants included staff from the Washington Office Research and International Programs branches, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forest Products Laboratory from Madison, Wisconsin, and the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program from Minnesota. (June 24, 2009)(June 24, 2009)

arrowField Crew Gathers Data from Research Burns in Alaska

FERA’s field crew was able collect pre- and post-burn data to determine forest floor consumption a research fire on Nenana Ridge outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. In a study sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program and led by Scott Rupp of the University of Fairbanks, data will be used to see how consumption and fire behavior changes as a result of fuel treatments. (June 24, 2009)

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arrowSecond Climate Change Workshop Held on the Olympic Peninsula

Jessica Halofsky and Dave Peterson convened a workshop on the effects of climate change on vegetation on the Olympic Peninsula, as part of the Westwide Climate Initiative.  A small group of scientists worked with resource managers from Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park to determine vulnerability of resources to a warmer climate and to develop adaptation options.  This was the second of four workshops focused on a Forest Service-National Park Service collaboration to develop a climate change action plan for the Olympic Peninsula.(June 24, 2009)

arrowProgress on Development of Continental-Scale Fuelbed Map for NASA Carbon Emission Project

FERA scientists are rebuilding the 1-km map of Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) fuelbeds for the continental United States, and extending it to Alaska and Mexico. In June 2009 the 1-km classification map for the West was completed, as were the fuelbeds for Mexico. Current focus is on estimating canopy layers in the West from the MODIS data, and completing a set of 25-30 new fuelbeds for the East. Along with fuels data provided by the Canadian Forest Service, this will provide a fuelbed map for all of North America, and will inform NASA’s project to estimate carbon emissions from wildfires across North America. A key element of this enhanced map will be more accurate estimation of fuel loadings in canopy layers using vegetation cover and Leaf Area Index (LAI) from NASA’s MODIS sensors.

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arrowHalofsky Presents at the 7th North American Forest Ecology Workshop
Jessica Halofsky gave an invited presentation on "Potential Effects of Climate Change on Mixed Severity Fire Regimes" on June 24thas part of a special session on Mixed Severity Fire Regimes at the Seventh North American Forest Ecology Workshop, in Logan, Utah.  The presentation was coauthored by David L. Peterson.

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arrowErnesto Alvarado Accepts Position as Associate Professor of Wildland Fire Science
Dr. Ernesto Alvarado, a long-time FERA team member, has been named Associate Professor in Wildland Fire Science in the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington effective July 1, 2009. Ernesto teaches courses on Wildland Fire Management and Fire Ecology. He has conducted research on wildland fire science topics in Alaska, the western states, the Brazilian Amazon, Mexico, and Bolivia. His research interest includes a variety of topics in forest fire sciences, fire ecology, fire regimes, fire management, prescribed fires, biomass combustion, smoke and GHG emissions, climate change, tropical forestry, landscape ecology, international forestry, and modeling. Ernesto also collaborates on fire fighter training in the U.S. and Latin America. (May 20, 2009)

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arrowMcKenzie and Kennedy Present at Landscape Ecology Meeting

Don McKenzie and Maureen Kennedy both presented papers on April 13 at the annual meeting of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, U.S. chapter, in Snowbird, Utah. McKenzie presented “Does the web have a Weaver? Mechanisms behind scaling laws in fire regimes,” which summarized the properties of scaling laws in fire regimes across the West and how they may be associated with fine-scale controls such as topography or spatial variability in fuels. Kennedy presented “A neutral model replicates correlated spatial patterns in fire history records”, which elaborated on scaling laws in spatially correlated patterns of fire occurrence and how they can be tied to topographic controls using neutral landscape models. (May 20, 2009)

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arrowFieldwork Begins on the Butte Falls Blowdown Study
Fieldwork began this month on the southern Oregon Butte Falls Blowdown site, in the Medford District of the Oregon Bureau of Land Management. This is the initial phase of a multiyear study to evaluate change in fire hazard among the treatment options of leaving blowdown as it fell, salvage logging with lop and scatter, and salvage logging with pile and burn. FERA’s Morris Johnson and Jessica Halofsky are collaborating on this study.(May 20, 2009)

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arrowOutreach Announcement for Research Ecologist

FERA is conducting an outreach to find interested candidates for the position of Research Ecologist (permanent, full-time) to be located at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab in Seattle, Washington. Duties include developing a program of research that addresses current scientific and management issues in fire ecology and fuels science in the United States including techniques for fuel reduction at small scales, planning approaches for fuel reduction at large scales, fuel succession over time, and management of natural fuels and harvest-created fuels. 

Individuals interested in this position and want to receive a copy of the vacancy announcement should complete and submit the outreach form available no later than June 1, 2009. Applicants must be U.S. citizens to be considered. (May 20, 2009)

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arrowTechnical Fire Management Course
Morris Johnson, Don McKenzie, Roger Ottmar, and Susan Prichard taught sections in the Fire Effects Module of Technical Fire Management (TFM) held in Bothell, Washington May 4-14, 2009. FERA team leader Dave Peterson was the coordinator for the two-week Fire Effects curriculum. TFM is an intensive, six-module educational program hosted by Washington Institute for mid-career fire managers in the federal agencies.

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arrowTraining on Software Tools Continues across the Country

An active schedule of training fire and fuels managers on FERA’s software tools continued over the past two months. Stops included 1-day workshops for the Department of the Army (southeastern states and Hawaii) in Georgia, the Utah office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Salt Lake City, and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. Upcoming training will be given through an RX-410 Smoke Management Course in Tennessee, and to BLM and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees in Lewistown, Montana. (May 20, 2009)

arrowJoint Fire Science Program Funds Two FERA Projects in 2009
News has been received that the Joint Fire Science Program awarded funding for two FERA projects in 2009. (April 7, 2009)

The first is an extension of previously-funded work on effects of fuel treatment on fire severity on the Tripod Complex fires in the northern Washington Cascade Range. Additional funding will extend results onto a broader landscape and range of forest types. Susan Prichard, a University of Washington cooperator, continues to lead this work.

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Clint Wright, research forester with FERA, has been granted funding to study prescribed burning in southeastern forests. The focus will be on burning in different seasons of the year and the effect that may have on fuel dynamics such as fuel regrowth and accumulation, and understory structure and composition.

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arrowInsects and Climate Presentation by Don McKenzie
FERA’s Don McKenzie presented the talk “Wildfire in the West: Past, Present, and Future” at the Western Forest Insect Work Conference in Spokane, Washington, on March 24. The theme of the conference was insects, fire, and climate change in western forests. (April 7, 2009)

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arrowSouth Lake Tahoe Fuel Treatment Research Funded

The proposal by FERA ecologist Morris Johnson, "Evaluating Alternative Fuel Treatments in the South Shore Wildland Urban Interface Area," has been recommended for funding by the Sierra Nevada Public Lands Management Act.  Fuels data and management alternatives will be developed to reduce fire hazard using an integration of the Forest Vegetation Simulator and its fire and fuels extension (FFE-FVS) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS). Alternatives will include various combinations of forest thinning and surface fuel treatments, including the effect of treatments over time. Work begins this summer and continue into 2011. (April 2, 2009)

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arrowForest Vegetation Simulator to Create FCCS Fuelbeds

Scientists and programmers from Forest Management Service Center in Fort Collins, Colorado and the FERA team have been working together over the past year to develop an integration between the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS). The goal is to provide FCCS fuelbeds as one outputs from FVS. This integration will allow managers to rapidly generate custom FCCS fuelbeds from their current stand exam data. Managers would also have the capability to implement silviculture treatments such as thinning and planting, and project FCCS fuelbeds forward in time.  For more information, contact Morris Johnson at mcjohnson@fs.fed.us (March 18, 2009)

arrowProtected Areas around the World Plan for Climate Change

As part of the George Wright Society’s 2009 meeting in Portland, Oregon, Dave Peterson participated in the thematic session “New Management Strategies in an Era of Climate Change.” His presentation “Adapting to Climate Change through Science-Management Partnerships” showcased work with Olympic and Tahoe National Forests in developing strategies to reduce ecosystem vulnerabilities, increase their resilience, consider tradeoffs, and manage lands dynamically and realistically.

This biennial conference on park, protected areas, and cultural sites, was attended by over 1000 resource managers and others. It included a poster session in which FERA was represented as a collaborator with the Western Mountain Initiative. (March 18, 2009)

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arrowWestern Tribal Managers Trained in Using FERA Tools
Responding to a request from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), a 4-hour introduction to FERA’s suite of fuel management tools was given in Missoula, Montana on March 4. Susan Prichard and Clint Wright taught 26 tribal land and fire managers who had gathered for the BIA’s Rocky Mountain and Northwest Regional Fire/Fuels Meeting. (March 18, 2009)

Olympic National Forest and National Park Plan for Climate Change
Work on a case study for methods of adapting forest management in light of climate change progresses. Most recently, a joint workshop with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, the Olympic National Forest, and Olympic National Park was held to determine how to incorporate the latest climate change information into action plans for resource management, specifically road management.  Development of adaptation options and action plans for other resource areas, including vegetation, fisheries, and wildlife, will continue. (February 18, 2009)

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FCCS Fuelbeds under Development for Mexico

Jose M. Michel, a visiting scholar from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico, has been working at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab to develop an FCCS fuelbed map for Mexico. A combination of data from the natural fuels photo series, plot data in Sierra del Sur, Chiapas, and Sierra Madre Oriental will be used for the map, and the final product will contribute to products that quantify fuel hazard and carbon emissions from wildfire across North America. (February 18, 2009)

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FERA Participates in Development of Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment

The State of Washington released their final draft climate change impacts assessment the second week in February, concurrent with a major conference at the Washington State Convention Center and attended by 500 people. Don McKenzie chaired, and presented at the Forest Resources session of the conference. David L. Peterson moderated a panel discussion in that same session. (February 18, 2009

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Training Sessions Continue Throughout the Year

FERA continues to offer training sessions on use of its fuels management tools to a wide variety of federal agencies. In the Pacific Northwest, trainings are planned at the Region 6 Vegetation Management Conference later in February, as well as an extended introduction the first week in June. Additional 1-day trainings are scheduled in Minnesota, Montana, and Utah over the next month. (February 18, 2009)

Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) v. 2.0 Released

The Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS), version 2.0, has been released Enhancements include (1) user-specified environmental variables to predict surface fire behavior, including reaction intensity, flame length, and rate of spread, (2) crosswalks to one of the original 13 Fire Behavior Prediction System fuel models and one of the 40 standard fuel models (3) carbon storage report by fuelbed category and subcategory and predicts the amount of combustible carbon in each category and subcategory based on selected fuel moisture scenarios, (4) reporting in English and metric units, (5) ability for users to upload photos to represent each fuelbed, and (6) a batch mode to provide output on a set of multiple fuelbeds. (January 2009)

LANDFIRE FCCS Layer Available

LANDFIRE, which provides national-level, high-resolution geospatial products to support fire and fuels management planning, now includes a GIS layer that maps 229 FCCS fuelbeds across the western United States. Users will find it listed under the “Fire Effects” layers on the Landfire interactive website, or on the CD which can be requested. Expected users include regional modelers who need fine-resolution data, and managers responsible for consistent analysis and policy over large regions.(January 2009)

Field Crew Heads South for the Winter

FERA’s field crew is back on the road again, headed to Florida for January and February. They will collect pre-fire fuel loading and fuel consumption data to help validate fuel consumption models for the Eastern regions of the U.S. Later in the year, field work will move to more northern states. This work is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program and undertaken in collaboration with the Northern Research Station. (January 2009)


2008

Brazilian Forest Researcher Stationed in Seattle

Dr. Marcus Vinicio Neves d Oliveira will spend the next two years as a visiting scientist at the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory. Dr. de Oliveira works at the Brazilian Agriculture Research Agency (EMBRAPA) in the Amazonian state of Acre. His visit is sponsored by an exchange program agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service/Forest Service, and EMBRAPA. This program supports senior scientists coming from Brazil to observe and participate in the latest scientific developments in their field, and to then develop joint programs to enhance future collaboration and to strengthen institutional relationships between Brazil and the United States. Dr. de Oliveira is the first Brazilian forest researcher working at a U.S. Forest Service research laboratory under this exchange program. (October 30, 2008)

Climate Change Planning Cadre Visits Montana and Idaho National Forests

Workshops on incorporating climate change into forest planning were given by a cadre of speakers were offered October 15-16 at the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests’ “Science Days.” FERAs David L. Peterson joined the caravan and presented information on fire, and also on adaptation and resource management. Participants included about 140 employees and stakeholders, including county commissioners at both locations.(October 30, 2008)

Butte Falls Blowdown Site Scoped for Potential Fire Hazard Research

The southern Oregon Butte Falls Blowdown site, on the Medford District of the Oregon Bureau of Land Management, was visited recently by Morris Johnson and Jessica Halofsky. It is being considered as a possible location for research that would evaluate change in fire hazard between leaving blowdown, salvage logging with lop and scatter, and salvage logging with pile and burn. Morris and Jessica met with BLM representatives Charley Martin, John Bergin, and Aaron Worman to discuss research possibilities, and and visited several field sites in the area.

In January 2008, a series of winter storms brought strong winds and heavy rain and snow to southern Oregon and northern California. Wind gusts up to 90 miles per hour downed power lines and uprooted trees throughout the Rogue Valley. This past September fire burned through a small section of this blowdown.(October 30, 2008)


Colville, Okanogan, and Wenatchee National Forests Also Address Climate Change

FERAs Jessica Halofsky presented two talks in at the Wenatchee Convention Center in Wenatchee, Washington October 24 and 25. Employees at all levels in the organization met with scientists from the Pacific Northwest Research Station to discuss the vulnerability of their forest and rangeland to climate change, and how they might develop adaptation strategies.(October 30, 2008)

Ellen Eberhardt Receives Science Support Award

The 2008 Pacific Northwest Research Station’s 2008 Excellence in Science Support Award will be presented to FERA’s Ellen Eberhardt during the annual award ceremony at the Station Leadership Team meeting in Hood River, Oregon on October 29. Ellen is a technical information specialist and has been with the team since 1994. (October 30, 2008)

Field Work in the Rangelands of Eastern Oregon

Throughout the summer of 2008, FERA’s field crew has made several trips to the rangeland of southeastern Oregon to collect fuels data and photographs of sites in support on research being conducted by Louisa Evers, an employee of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service. By having a picture with vegetation data, Evers and other managers will be able to assess fire regime condition class (FRCC), use the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) or fuel models to assess fire hazard, and have data relevant to aspects of rangeland management, The ability to assess sage grouse habitat is the most critical need. All data collected will be entered into the Digital Photo Series. (September 30, 2008)


Hurricane Photo Series Assists in Assessing Forest Damage from Hurricane Ike

Recent hurricanes in the southeastern U.S. prompted forest managers to contact FERA and request unpublished materials to assist in inventorying forest damage from high winds which accompany these storms. Photos and fuel loading information, which will be published in a stereo photos series, were provided to the incident command team from this ongoing work funded by the Joint Fire Science Program. In addition, 23 FCCS fuelbeds were created for mapping by Landfire to assess forest damage. (September 30, 2008)

FERA Connects Climate Change Research with Monarch Butterfly Study

In late July, FERA hosted Dr. Isabel Ramirez, one of a handful of researchers worldwide who are focused on ecosystem and land-use dynamics in the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve in the mountains of central Mexico. Don McKenzie (FERA) and Dr. Ramirez (professor of geography with the National University of Mexico) are studying the interplay of land use and disturbance, vegetation, and microclimate to better understand threats to the butterfly habitat from both human activities and climate change. (August 18, 2008)

Online Climate Change Resource Center

The U.S. Forest Service's three western research stations have officially launched a new online reference site for resource managers and decisionmakers who need information and tools to address climate change in planning and project implementation in the West. The Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) is a site that connects climate change information generated by the Forest Service with those who need it. David L. Peterson, Don McKenzie, and several other members of the FERA team have provided both leadership and scientific expertise in the development of this website. (August 11, 2008)

Fire Severity in Regenerating Stands Focus of New Study

Christina Lyons-Tinsley, a graduate student at the University of Washington, has teamed up with FERA to analyze fire severity in regenerating stands burned by the Tripod Complex fire. She intends to determine how fuels and other factors contributed to surface fire intensity and spread. Specifically, the project will compare fire severity between regeneration cuts, the surrounding matrix, and thinned units; and analyze fire severity among regeneration units including the relationship between fire effects and stand structure. (July 30, 2008)

NASA Interns Study Tripod Complex Fire Severity Alongside FERA

Students from the NASA DEVELOP internship program have been working this summer with FERA’s Dr. Susan Prichard on a project using satellite imagery to assess burn severity at the 2006 Tripod Complex fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The students spent one week in July 2008 working with FERA crew members collecting field data within the Tripod Fire perimeter. Satellite data are being used to create classified burn severity maps of the Tripod Complex Fire in the Okanogan National Forest. These maps will be used to perform an analysis of the relationship between burn severity and variables such as landform and vegetation types. (July 30, 2008)

Climate Change Workshop Convened to Develop Educational Materials

A 2 ½-day workshop in late July has been organized to develop a set of climate-related lectures to be recorded for the Climate Change Resource Center. Held at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest near Eugene, Oregon, the workshop brings together speakers from the climate science community with managers from national forests in the West. Videos of presentation and question-and-answer sessions will be made available on the website of the resource center. FERA will be represented by Dave Peterson, Jessica Halofsky, and Ellen Eberhardt. (July 30, 2008)

Boreal Fire History Project Progresses

Nearly 4000 tree-ring samples have been acquired and processed in a Joint Fire Science Program project, “Compiling, Synthesizing and Analyzing Existing Boreal Forest Fire History Data in Alaska,” which brings together information on the history of boreal forest fire in Alaska. Digital data for other tree-ring datasets, representing approximately 9000 samples, has also been acquired. This data is being standardized and imported into the Alaska Boreal Forest Fire History Database. Additionally, improvements have been made to the Alaska Large Fire Database by identifying and digitizing missing large fire perimeters, fixing incorrect fire perimeters, expanding fire attribute information, and extending the dataset to include fire records from 1939 to 1949. (July 30, 2008)

Field Work Complete on Project to Estimate Biomass of Handpiles

Field work was completed on the Joint Fire Science Program project to estimate the biomass of hand-piled fuels for smoke management planning. Collection sites included the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forests in Washington, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California, the Los Padres and Sequoia national forests in southern California, and on BLM lands near Vale in eastern Oregon. Initial analysis of the data is underway, and a draft of the final report is expected to be complete by mid-October. (June 23, 2008)

Peterson Presents Plenary Session at Workshop "Climate Change Impacts on Natural Resrouces in the Columbia River Basin"

On June 24, David L. Peterson presented a plenary talk on “Climate Change Effects to Columbia Basin Forest Ecosystems” at the workshop “Climate Change Impacts on Natural Resource Management in the Columbia River Basin,” held in Boise, Idaho.

The purpose of this meeting was to “provide resources and information to natural resource scientists and managers who work to conserve Columbia River Basin ecosystems.” It engaged scientists and managers in developing conservation strategies that anticipate and respond to a changing climate. Several hundred representatives from regional state, federal, tribal, educational, and nongovernmental organizations were in attendance.(June 23, 2008)

Field Crews Measuring Consumption on Interior Alaska Research Burns

The field crew spent time in early June preparing plots to participate in the Joint Fire Science Program project “Quantifying the Effects of Fuels Reduction Treatments on Fire Behavior and Post-Fire Vegetation Dynamics.” FERA’s part of this proposal, led by Dr. Scott Rupp of the University of Alaska, is to measure pre-burn and post-burn fuels in the treatment and control plots, and calculate consumption from the fires. (June 23, 2008)

Morris Johnson Earns Ph.D. from the University of Washington

On Saturday, June 1, Morris Johnson received his Ph.D. in Forest Resources at commencement ceremonies at the University of Washington. The title of his dissertation was "Analyzing Fuel Treatments and Fire Hazard Across the West". (June 19, 2008)

System Architecture for Fire Modeling

David L. Peterson is participating in a Fuels Treatment and Assessment Working Group convened by the Joint Fire Science Program Board of Governors to lead development of a collaborative system architecture (CSA) for fire modeling and decision making about fuels in the United States. The 12-person working group consists of representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service. The new CSA is intended to streamline the number and types of tools currently used for fuel treatment applications within a single coherent analytical framework. Work will continue in 2008-09, and proposed CSAs will be reviewed by the fire management community. (May 28, 2008)

Improving Prediction of Smoke Impacts in the Eastern United States

FERA and its cooperators across the country have received funds to validate and/or improve fuel consumption equations in Consume 3.0 and FOFEM.

Efficient Field Work Across Southern California

FERA's field crew is spending several weeks in southern California, from Sequoia National Forest in the east to the Los Padres National Forest in the west, measuring piles of forest residue created by hand toward the goal of improving consumption and emissions equations involving such fuels. A stop was made in the San Bernardino National Forest to measure post-burn fuel consumption on chaparral shrubland at two sites.

Efforts Continue to Assist Land Managers in Planning for Climate Change

The demand for guidance in incorporating climate change into forest planning finds Dave Peterson traveling this past month to meet with the Northern Region of the Forest Service in Missoula, MT. He has also conducted introductory meetings on these concepts with the Siuslaw, Willamette and Mt. Hood National Forests in Oregon, in partnership with Olympic National Forest Supervisor Kathy O’Halloran (via videoconference).

In an effort to streamline this process and serve a wider audience, the Forest Service has funded development a toolkit for adapting to climate change on western national forests. The resulting website, case studies, guidebook, and scientific documentation will help mangers plan for climate change. Dave Peterson is one of several investigators working on this project.

Landscape Management System to Help Select Actions to Mitigate Carbon Emissions while Reducing Fire Risk and Future Costs

The Forest Service has funded a collaborative project to enhance the Landscape Management System software for selecting forest management action priorities in the West that best mitigate carbon emissions while reducing fire risk and future costs. Don McKenzie is one of 10 team members working on this task.

RX Combustion-Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment a Grand Success -- Individuals and fire research teams came together the first week in March to collect data on prescribed burns in the southeastern United States. The teams documented fire-atmospheric dynamics on 6 prescribed fires during 8 days in southern woodland fuelbed types on Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and the Joseph Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.

Roger Ottmar led the fuels team, and Bob Vihnanek and the field crew collected data on fuels consumption. Data will be consolidated the data and will result in a series of peer-reviewed publication on the results.

The Discovery Channel collected interviews and footage and developed a 7-minute segment that aired March 18 during their broadcast of the “Daily Planet”. (March 28, 2008)

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Mexico Photo Series Published -- Fuels of the montane subtropical forests of the Sierra Madre del Sur, and temperate forests and montane shrubland of the Northern Sierra Madre Oriental were collected, and a photo series on this region has been recently published by the University of Washington.

This stereo photo series is designed to help users to appraise fuel and vegetation conditions for fire management in forests of Mexico.

Funding for the field work and publication was provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (Latin America and the Caribbean Bureau and the Mexico Mission) and U.S. Forest Service International Programs. The work was done by the FERA team and Mexican collaborators from the University of Guadalajara's Manantlán Institute of Ecology and Conservation of Biodiversity, Universidad Autonoma Agraria Antonio Narro, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas, and Comision Nacional Forestal. (March 28, 2008)

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Department of Defense Land Managers Learn Suite of Fuels Management Tools -- Fort Gordon Army Base, in northeastern Georgia, was the site of the most recent 3-day workshop teaching land managers about the suite of tools – photo series, FCCS, and Consume – designed to help them reach their objectives in prescribed burning. Participants were mostly employees of the Department of Defense; others were from The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service.

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Prescribed Fires in San Bernardino National Forest Aid Shrub Consumption Research -- FERA's Kyle Jacobson make a quick to trip to southern late in March to gather some last minute moisture data at pre-positioned fuel consumption plots in the San Bernardino National Forest before their ongoing prescribed burn made it to those sites. This data will help improve shrub consumption data for the Consume 3.0 software. An interesting aspect of this burn was that a blog was created by the burners themselves as a source of information before, during, and after the fire. FERA's participation is mentioned on page 2 of that website.

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Mountain Research Publication Highlights Dave Peterson -- The Western Mountain Initiative is the focus of a discussion conducted by The Mountain Research Initative with FERA's Dave Peterson and his colleague Jill Baron. They discuss adaptation strategies for ecosystems in the mountain West.

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Jessica Halofsky Joins the Team -- FERA is pleased to welcome Dr. Jessica Halofsky as a University of Washington cooperator. Jessica recently received her doctorate, and will take on the task of working with land managers to help them plan for climate change. She will also participate in the work of the Western Mountain Initiative.

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Field Crew Spends Time in Georgia and Florida -- FERA’s field crew, along with their leader Bob Vihnanek, is spending time Fort Gordon Army Base (Georgia) and Eglin Air Force Base (Florida), and the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center (Georgia) gathering fuels data that will inform a set of upcoming experimental burns, provide detailed information for an upcoming workshop on FERA tools, and set the groundwork for possibly more photo series.

Talk Given on Climate Change’s Influence on Forest Ecosystems -- David L. Peterson and Don McKenzie presented the most recent in a series “Spotlight on Science,” a cooperative program between the Portland, Oregon offices of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey. They addressed the topics of adapting to the effects of climate change in Pacific Northwest forests, and the effects of climate change on wildfire in the western United States.

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2007

FERA Collaborates on NASA Projects to Development Carbon Emission Estimates for North America -- FERA is a collaborator on two projects recently funded by NASA to estimate carbon emissions/budgets for North America. The projects are "Assessing the Impacts of fire and Insect Disturbances on the Terrestrial Carbon Budgets of Forested Areas in Canada, Alaska, and the Western United States", and "Development of Decision Products for Spatial Quantification of Carbon Emissions from Wildfire for North America." The principal investigators for these projects are Dr. Eric Kasischke of the University of Maryland, and Dr. Nancy French of Michigan Tech Research Institute, respectively. Work is underway to develop an efficient approach to both projects. The Fuel Characteristic Classification System and Consume 3.0 are integral to both projects. (December 2, 2007)

Sandberg Honored for Distinguished Achievement -- Dr. David V (Sam) Sandberg was honored during at the University of Washington College of Forest Resources 100-year anniversary gala. Sam was recognized with the Distinguished Achievement award for lifetime pioneering achievement in forest science for anticipating and acting on future challenges to resource management through education and research. Sandberg, among the first PhDs in Forest Fire Science (1974) taught the first university course in Disturbance Ecology and an introduced a lecture series on Global Climate Change in 1975, before joining the Forest Service to become a Program Manager for Global Environmental Protection. He remains active as an Emeritus Scientist with the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory and as a consulting fire scientist active in fire behavior modeling, evaluating fire's role in global change, and strategic planning.

Dr. Sandberg has been associated with the College of Forest Resources since 1962 as student, lecturer, and affiliate professor. We congratulate Sam for having been honored by the faculty, staff, and friends that he has valued and admired for decades. (November 19, 2007)

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Briefing on Toolkit for Assessing Fire Hazards -- The Joint Fire Science Program put together a 6-page briefing on the suite of applications developed by FERA to allow resource managers to estimate fuel loads, fire hazards, and smoke emissions characteristics. (October 29, 2007)

Digital Photo Series Finished -- The initial development of the Digital Photo Series is complete, and the final report submitted to the Joint Fire Science Program, primary funding organization for this work. (September 24, 2007)

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Shrub Consumption Research Project Complete -- The gathering and analysis of data from buring experiments focusing on shrub consumption is complete. The final report for this work ahs been submitted to the Joint Fire Science Program. Improvements to Consume 3.0 will include results from this work. (September 21, 2007)

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JFSP Highlights Feature FERA Research -- Three research briefs by the Joint Fire Science Program highlight research which involves the FERA team. (September 21, 2004)
Hurricane Photo Series [.pdf]
FCCS in Eastern Hardwoods [.pdf]
Fire-Climate Connection [.pdf]

Pilot Study on Multiple Day Prescribed Burns Completed -- Roger Ottmar coordinated FERA's participation in a pilot project on the Wenatchee National Forest, Naches Ranger District during which time data was collected on the fuels before and after the fire, and this data was compared with predictions of consumption using FCCS and Consume 3.0. (July 20, 2007) More.

FERA Assists as Washington State Considers Climate Effects on Forests -- Dave Peterson serves on the Forest Resources Preparation/Adaptation Workgroup which provides technical advice to the Governor's Climate Advisory Team. (July 17, 2007)

New Study Considers the Biomass of Handpiles for Smoke Management Planning -- The Joint Fire Science Program has funded Clint Wright to conduct 2 -year study to determine the relationships between handpile composition, size, and biomass in different vegetation types. This will result in improved equations for estimating hand-pile biomass which, in turn, will allow for more accurate smoke production estimates. (July 2007)

FERA Helps Establish International Fire Management Actions Alliance -- Ernesto Alvarado, from the FERA Team, is a founding member of the FAO Fire Management Actions Alliance. The Alliance was established in May 2007 at the 4th International Wildland Fire Conference held in Seville, Spain with the goal of is stimulating improved fire management and reducing damage from fire worldwide. Its objectives are to review and update the Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines; encourage stakeholders at all levels to adopt and use the Guidelines; review experiences from applying the Guidelines; and strengthen international cooperation in fire management. (June 11, 2007)

Two Joint Fire Science Program Projects Completed -- Final reports for the projects "Field Training Workshops for Field Demonstrating the Use of the JFSP-Sponsored Photo Series and Fuel Characteristic Classification System" and "Forest Floor Consumption and Smoke Characterization in Boreal Forested Fuelbed Types of Alaska" have been submitted to the Joint Fire Science Program. The series of workshops is complete, and the boreal forest consumption equations have been programmed into Consume 3.0. (June 5, 2007)

EOS Features Climate Change and Disturbance Workshop -- EOS, a weekly publication of the American Geophysical Union, took note of the "Workshop on Climate Change and Disturbance Interactions in Western North America" held in Tucson in February 2007. The workshop was led by FERA's Don McKenzie as part of the Western Mountain Initiative. (June 1, 2007)

FERA Scientists Lead Disturbance Workshop -- FERA scientists Don McKenzie and Dave Peterson, in collaboration with the Western Mountain Initiative and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Laboratory at the University of Arizona, convened an interdisciplinary group of 25 scientists for a 2 1/2 day intensive workshop to identify new directions in climate change research.  Four workgroups focused on different aspects of the response of disturbance regimes, such as wildfire and insect outbreaks, to climate change: extreme events and climatic variability, the effects of changing disturbance regimes on ecosystems, new disturbance interactions and cumulative effects, and developing new landscape disturbance models.  Outcomes will be reported in a Forest Service General Technical Report, a synthesis paper in an ecological journal, reports at international conferences, and topical papers in other peer-reviewed journals. (Feb. 22, 2007)

FCCS Version 1.1 Released -- FCCS v 1.1 has been released, and includes the following modifications. (Feb. 16, 2007)

  1. The program now reports predicted surface fire behavior, including
    reaction intensity (BTU ft-2 min-1), flame length (ft), and rate of spread (ft
    min-1), under benchmark environmental conditions. Benchmark environmental
    conditions are defined as flat (0% slope) with winds at 4 mph, and under dry fuel conditions (D2L2 moisture scenario [Andrews et al. 2005]).
  2. The program now suggests crosswalks, from both FCCS Fuelbeds and custom fuelbeds, to the original 13 surface fire behavior fuel models and the 40 standard fuel models (Scott and Burgan 2005) under a dry fuel moisture scenario (D2L2) (Andrews et al. 2005).
  3. The website now includes data references for each of the FCCS Fuelbeds.

2006

New York Times Article Cites FERA Journal Article -- An article published November 14, 2006 by the New York Times, "Studies Find Danger to Forests in Thinning Without Burning," refers to a paper in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research written by Crystal Raymond and David L. Peterson. (Nov. 15, 2006)

Photo of Roger receiving the Chielf's Award for Technology TransferOttmar Receives Award for Technology Transfer-- Roger Ottmar received the Forest Service 2006 Chief's Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer (Internal). This is an annual award which recognizes exemplary contributions of individuals or groups to activities that promote the transfer of knowledge and technology within the United States. It honors exceptional creativity in the transfer of technology internally within the Forest Service. (October. 1, 2006)

Hurricane Photo Series Featured in Press Release -- Scientists from the FERA team will help forest managers quickly measure fuel loads across extensive areas of hurricane-damaged forests. This research is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program and is led by Roger Ottmar. (Aug. 24, 2006) More.

FIREHouse is in the Spotlight -- Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse (FIREHouse) is featured on the Joint Fire Science Program website in the Spotlights section. (Sept. 28, 2006) More.

Photo Series Training in Mexico and Central America --
A new natural fuels photo series volume for Mexico was used during a training session held in Manantlán and attended by 21 representatives from five Central American countries and Mexico. Ernesto Alvarado conducted this training with funding from USAID.(July 26, 2006) More.

Successful Joint Fire Science Program Proposals -- Diana Olson and Roger Ottmar successfully competed for funding in the 2006 Joint Fire Science Program Request for Proposals. The projects funded were "Compiling, Synthesizing, and Analyzing Existing Boreal Forest Fire History for Alaska" and "Photo Series for Estimating Post-Hurricane Fuels in Forest Types of the Southeast United States."

 

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