USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

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

(206) 732-7800

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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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FERA Research Update July 2011

This FERA Research Update is intended to provide the fire management and fire science communities with information about current research conducted by the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA).

To subscribe, visit or contact Ellen Eberhardt at (541)750-7481,

arrowFCCS Fuelbed Maps Available to Download

National- and regional-scale fuelbed GIS layers for the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS)  are available and more are in the works. At this time, you can download layers for the United States (conterminous states and Alaska) at the 1-km and 30-m scales, as well as maps of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests (Washington) and the Lake Tahoe Basin (California/Nevada).


arrowAlaska Boreal Fire History Database Available

Cooperation between FERA’s Don McKenzie, and the University of Idaho’s Diana Olson, has led to completion of research to compile and synthesize existing Alaska boreal-forest fire-history literature and datasets. They drafted a literature review and synthesis of publications related to fire regimes in boreal forests in Alaska, incorporated this new reference information into both the new Alaska Fire and Fuels Research Map and the pre-existing Alaska Fire Effects Reference Database, and are finishing up a synthesis of this work. We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project JFSP 06-3-1-26.



arrowSummer Brings International Visitors to the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab

This month FERA was honored to host visitors from Spain, Portugal, and Australia and share fire and fuels research in a number of different areas.

Lucrecia Pettinari is a doctoral student from the Department of Geography, University of Acala in Madrid, Spain, and will be spending two months with the FERA team developing fuelbeds for the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) in her project to map fire hazard at a global scale. 
Following up on his work last fall, Dr. Jorge Amorim from the University of Aveiro, Portugal is again visiting the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab to develop FCCS fuelbeds for Portugal.  The fuelbeds and outputs will be used to assess fire hazard and improve in the assessment of air quality impacts from wildfire smoke.  

Ranger Catherine Mardell from the New South Wales National Park and Wildlife Service (Australia) and colleague Eric Classen stopped by the Pacific Wildland Fire Science Lab for a week to learn more about the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and the natural fuels photos series, and how they could both be adapted for use in their area. Catherine visited with FERA’s Susan Prichard, toured the Tripod fire, and participated in a field exercise on how to use the photo series.  Both Mardell and Claussen will be visiting other federal agencies and research facilities throughout the United States and Canada.

arrowMulti-scale Controls of Historical Forest-fire Regimes: New Insights from Fire-Scar Networks

Anticipating future forest-fire regimes under changing climate requires that scientists and natural resource managers understand the factors that control fire across space and time. Development of  local and regional fire-scar networks facilitates study of  broad-scale synchrony between climate and fire, which may help to identify or predict widespread fire years.  Fire-history networks also offer crucial reference information on fire as a dynamic landscape process for use in ecosystem management, especially when  managing for forest structure and resilience to climate change.

The online journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published this multiauthor paper, with FERA's Don McKenzie contributing.



arrowClimate Change and Wilderness Fire Regimes

Disturbance interactions, and interactions between global warming and human-caused stresses, may compromise the ability of wilderness areas to respond to climate change according to a new paper in the International Journal of Wilderness. A major challenge to maintaining the integrity of wilderness areas in a   warming world will be adapting to changing disturbance regimes.

 In studying projections from both simulation models and empirical studies, FERA’s Don McKenzie and the University of Washington’s Jeremy Littell suggest that predictions of expected increases in fire extent and fire severity are limited by the need to account for feedbacks from vegetation and for the simple physical limits on areas with sufficient fuels to burn at all. Adaptive strategies must be creative and flexible, especially considering the limited acceptability of active manipulations, such as assisted migration and fuel treatments, in protected areas.

McKenzie, D.; Littell, J.S.. 2010. Climate change and wilderness fire regimes. International Journal of Wilderness. 17(1): 22-27


arrowForest Service Begins Development of 2012 Assessment of Climate Change Science and Forests

FERA’s David L. Peterson and Jim Vose of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station are leading the development of this report. Peterson, Vose, and Toral Patel-Weynand of the U.S. Forest Service Research in Washington DC, hosted 40 stakeholders at a three-day workshop in Atlanta, Georgia to gather input on the proposed outline, and workshop participants provided feedback on issues to be considered in the report.

The U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program selected U.S. Forest Service Research to lead the 2012 assessment of the status of climate change science and its impacts (ecological, social, public sector, and private sector) on U.S. forests as part of a more comprehensive look at climate change science.


U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at 13:04:07 CST

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