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 May 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,

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.

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, contributed four posters that covered the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) and research done on the effects of forest thinning on fire hazard and area burned in dry forests of the western United States, and chaired a session.


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.



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 Research 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.


arrowFCCS 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. A 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.


U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at 13:04:08 CST

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