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 March 2012

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,

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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