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 2013

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 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. 


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.

To follow Yasmeen:

arrowWildland Fire Emissions, Carbon and Climate: Characterizing Wildland Fuels

FERA’s Clint Wright worked with David Weise from the Pacific Southwest Research Station to review and synthesize the state of science regarding wildland fuels as they relate to greenhouse gas, aerosol, and black carbon emissions. This review appears in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Smoke from biomass fires makes up a substantial portion of global greenhouse gas, aerosol, and black carbon emissions. Understanding how fuel characteristics and conditions affect fire occurrence and extent, combustion dynamics, and fuel consumption is critical for making accurate, reliable estimates of emissions production at local, regional, national, and global scales. A fundamental understanding of the relationships between these conditions and processes is needed to help develop strategies to mitigate the expected effects of climate change.


arrowRuddy Mell Featured Speaker at Fire Conference in Russia

The FERA team is proud 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.



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 timely fire and fuels issues.

  • “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:

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.]

More and More

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.


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.



U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 at 13:04:09 CST

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