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 April 2014

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,

Don McKenzie Presented Webinar on Consequences of Future Wildfire Smoke

Smoke from wildfires has adverse biological and social consequences, and various lines of evidence suggest that smoke from wildfires in the future may be more intense and widespread, demanding that methods be developed to address its effects on people, ecosystems, and the atmosphere. Earlier this month, Don McKenzie presented a webinar on the essential ingredients of a modeling system for projecting smoke consequences in a rapidly warming climate that is expected to change wildfire regimes significantly.

It has been archived at

The original paper can be found at:


FERA Scientists Contribute Four Articles to “Forest Ecology and Management”

Special Issue of Forest Ecology and Management Focuses on the Connections Among Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate

This special issue highlights the degree of collaboration between Forest Service fire researchers across the country.

Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Modeling Fuel Consumption

Roger Ottmar synthesized the current state of knowledge regarding fuel consumption, factors and variables that influence fuel consumption, systems currently available for predicting fuel consumption, and future direction in research to improve our knowledge and predictive capabilities for estimating greenhouse gases produced from wildfire.

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Wildland Fire Emissions, Carbon, and Climate: Characterizing Wildland Fuels

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station’s David Weise and Clint Wright synthesized the state of science regarding wildland fuels in the context of greenhouse gas, aerosol, and black carbon emissions. The synthesis examines the science that has been used and is being developed to characterize wildland fuels.

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Fire Behavior in Masticated Fuels: A Review

Roger Ottmar joined with collaborators to produce this review of the current literature on fuels and fire behavior following mastication of forest fuels. They highlight the variation of fire behavior across ecosystems, and identify key science needs to better explain fire behavior and effects in masticated fuelbeds.

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Fuel Treatment Prescriptions Alter Spatial Patterns of Wildland Severity around the Wildland-Urban Interface During the Wallow Fire, Arizona, USA.

Maureen Kennedy and Morris Johnson examined the spatial pattern of fire severity as the Wallow Fire moved from wildland fuels into treated fuels. All fuel treatments demonstrated reduced fire severity, demonstrating that there are multiple paths to fuel treatment design around the wildland-urban interface.

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Documentation of Fire Effects Continues in Colorado

In Colorado Springs, Bob Vihnanek and Joe Restaino continue to conduct thorough technical discussions with the local firefighting first responders. This information will help to reconstruct the timeline of the movement of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire through the city. Insights gained from this Joint Fire Science Program-sponsored fire reconstruction will inform research to evaluate the effectiveness of different fire fighting and mitigation activities in the wildland-urban interface. The work is being led by Alex Maranghides of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Fuel Characteristic Classification System Version 3.0: Technical Documentation

If you’ve ever wanted to look “under the hood” of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) to see what and how it calculates fuel characteristics, wait no more. This general technical report provides detail on the calculation of the characteristics, surface fire behavior results, and each of the potentials. Dr. Susan Prichard led the team that compiled the many variables and equations.

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Learning about Fuels and Consumption in the New Jersey Pine Barrens

In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, FERA’s field crew has been on the job measuring fuel consumption to aid research to relate LIDAR measurements to actual fuels. The Joint Fire Science Program is supporting a research effort led by Nick Skowronski of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station to evaluate and optimize fuel treatments using both experimental data and modeling.

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Fire Laboratories Collaborate to Share Research Results at Conference

Attendees at the May 2014 “Large Wildland Fires: Social, Political, and Ecological Effects” meeting in Missoula, MT will find information about fire research efforts featured in a single booth in the exhibitors hall. The Missoula Forest Fire Sciences Lab and the Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab will both feature the results of their newest research in the same place. Stop by and visit us!

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Comparing Algorithms for Estimating Foliar Biomass of Conifers in the Pacific Northwest

Crystal Raymond and FERA author Don McKenzie compared five algorithms for estimating foliar biomass (FB) for seven common coniferous species in the Pacific Northwest. Algorithms based on diameter at breast height (DBH), or on DBH and height, consistently yield higher estimates of FB than algorithms based on sapwood area. At the tree level, differences between algorithms increased with increasing DBH for all species, but their order and magnitude differed by species. At the stand level, differences among algorithms were muted by the mix of species and diameter classes that contributed to total FB of stands of different seral stages and species composition. Significant differences among estimates of FB from different algorithms show the need for consistent methods for estimating FB for carbon accounting, tests of the sensitivity of ecosystem models to these differences, and more field observations to compare algorithms.



U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Friday, 18 April 2014 at 18:25:24 CDT

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