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 November 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,

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Thursday, 30 January 2014 at 14:40:29 CST

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