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Greater Sage-grouse Fire and Invasive Species Assessments

Sage-grouse

Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team (AMSET) was tasked by the Intermountain Region to complete the Greater Sage-grouse (GRSG) Fire and Invasive Species Assessment (FIAT) specific to each National Forest and Grassland within the Region in cooperation with local resource specialists and Forest Staff. This process is referred to as FS-FIAT

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Fire Behavior Assessment Team

FBAT gear

We are a unique fire module that measures pre-fire fuels/vegetation, active fire behavior (with sensors in the fire), and post-fire fuels/vegetation conditions during wildfires and prescribed fires. The team is led by Ali Reiner and includes 6-12 fireline qualified personnel, at least one of which is crewboss qualified or more typically Division Supervisor qualified. The team also conducts canyon or chimney blow-up modeling.

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Fire Behavior Analysis Support for Wilderness Area Fires

Aldo Leopold Research Institute

In November of 2011, Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team (AMSET) was tasked by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute to provide retrospective fire behavior and growth analysis for up to 100 fires in the Selway-Bitteroot, Bob Marshall, and the Gila Wilderness areas that occurred in 2007 and 2008, and conduct retrospective fire behavior modeling and spread for alternative management responses to the selected suppression alternative for three fires that occurred within the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The intent of this modeling was to provide long term fire simulations, and simulate alternative suppression strategies to support a Joint Fire Sciences Project in analyzing the consequences of alternative response strategies in the Northern Rockies and Southwest in 2007 and 2008.

Landscape Analysis for Prescott NF

Landscape Analysis for Prescott NF

AMSET partnered with Above and Beyond Ecosystems to complete a Landscape Analysis of existing conditions with a focus on vegetation, fire ecology, fuels, and predicted or anticipated fire behavior for three analysis areas on the Prescott National Forest totaling more than 500,000 acres.

The result of the analysis was to provide the Forest Leadership Team with a comprehensive study of current and expected conditions to be used for future landscape level planning.

Bull Fire

The USDA Forest Service tasked AMSET with assessing the effectiveness of fuel treatments in the Bull fire burn area. The Bull fire rapidly burned in excess of 16,000 acres on the Sequoia National Forest near homes and through a shaded fuel break. AMSET assessed the effectiveness of the fuel treatments in reducing property damage and stopping fire spread to private property.

Cleveland National Forest, Descanso Ranger District - Mount Laguna/Pine Valley Community Defense Project

AMSET completed the environmental analysis (NEPA) and Implementation Guide for a fuels treatment project under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The analysis was completed with an environmental assessment (EA) and involved two separate communities with different ecosystem types (chaparral and conifer forest). The project proposed treatment of approximately 5,500 acres.

Click here for the project website
Mount Laguna and Pine Valley Community Defence and Healthy Forest Restoration Project Implementation Unit Guide

San Bernardino Mastication Fuel Treatment Monitoring

San Bernardino Mastication Fuel Treatment Monitoring

Little information exists on fuels or fire characteristics in masticated fuel beds. The San Bernardino National Forest contracted AMSET to characterize masticated fuel beds as a foundation for understanding potential fire behavior in masticated fuels.

The objective of this monitoring project was to quantify fuel loads and characteristics in masticated areas at several elevations and vegetation types, as well as varying levels of masticated material coverage. Data on masticated fuel characteristics could be used in the future in conjunction with fire behavior measurements in order to better develop and test potential masticated fuel models.

Findings Summary

  • Tons/acre of masticated fuels can be roughly estimated by multiplying the average masticated fuel depth in cm by 4 for areas of head-high shrubs masticated roughly 2 years ago
  • Tons/acre of masticate fuels can be roughly estimated multiplying the average masticated fuel depth in cm by 7 for areas of head-high shrubs masticated roughly 1 year ago.
  • Over half of masticated fuels were 10 h, one-quarter to one-third were 1 h and less than a quarter were 100 h. Very few masticated fuels were 1000 h.
  • Bulk densities for the litter/duff/masticated fuel layer were 40 to 80 kg/m3
  • Masticated fuels loadings of 17 to 34 tons/acre were found. Litter, duff, herbaceous and shrub fuels were minimal.
  • Percent bare ground was less than 25% at all sites.
  • Average masticated fuel bed depths were 3 to 5 cm.
  • Custom fuel models were created as a starting point for fire behavior modeling in masticated fuel beds.
  • Predicted fire behavior for the masticated areas of this project modeled with two variations of custom fuel models and dry weather with 3 mph winds included rates of spread between 0 and 2 chains/hour and flame lengths between 0 and 3 feet.
  • A prototype for a masticated fuel photo series was created.

Final Report

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San Bernardino Mastication

Prescribed Fire Monitoring

Rx Fire Plot

We conduct monitoring of 54 fuel treatments throughout California. A total of 209 pre-treatment monitoring plots were installed between 2001 and 2006 in coniferous forests, woodlands and chaparral. This project was initially funded by Fire and Aviation Management of the Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service (USFS). In 2009, the Joint Fire Sciences Program sponsored four additional years of post-treatment data collection on forested plots and analysis of data for evaluation of the longevity of fuel treatments.

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Joint Fire Science / Red Mountain Mastication Study

Joint Fire Science

The Greenhorn Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest requested that AMSET collaborate with them to formally assess effectiveness of mastication fuel treatments in ponderosa pine plantations. Pre and post-treatment fuels (surface and canopy) data were taken as well as fire behavior measurements during the prescribed fire. Site-specific models were created to estimate masticated fuel based on depth. Fuels, potential fire behavior and tree mortality analyses were completed. Findings from this research meet a local need, and also provide practical knowledge to managers in similar areas in the western U.S.

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Groveland Vegetation/Fuels Inventory

Groveland Vegetation/Fuels Inventory

The Groveland Ranger District of the Stanislaus National Forest requested that AMSET perform a vegetative inventory required for NEPA analysis of two projects which had been put on the fast track. AMSET assisted with data collection protocol, assembled qualified field crews on short notice, and developed maps with random locations for data sampling points. The field crews, 2 crews consisting of 2 members each, were able to establish over 200 plots within a period of 5 weeks.

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Groveland Vegetation/Fuels Inventory

TNF Disturbance Layer

The Tahoe National Forest maintains a GIS layer showing disturbances such as timber harvesting, thinning, and planting. This information is used to evaluate potential effects of proposed activities. The Sierraville and Truckee Ranger Districts needed assistance to bring their layer up-to-date using new aerial photograph imagery, recent harvest plans, and the FACTS database. AMSET checked existing data and added new information as needed. The updated database is compatible with the existing database, and includes additional data relating to the Quincy Library Group data requirements.

TNF LiDAR Contract

The Sierraville District wants to conduct stream restoration projects at several locations. Very high resolution imagery with precise vertical control is needed to conduct the restoration projects. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) imagery can provide this level of precision. AMSET provided Contracting Officer Representative (COR) services to expedite the contract and obtain the raw data within a restricted time period. AMSET also provided oversight to convert the raw data into GIS raster datasets which can be used by ArcGIS.

Meyers Landfill Oversight

Meyers Landfill Oversight

AMSET is providing hydrogeologic technical assistance and Level III Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) support for the on-going investigation and remediation of the closed Meyers Landfill, located on Forest Service land in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU). The landfill which operated for many years under a Special Use permit was closed in the early 1970's. The landfill generated leachate which impacted surface and groundwater. Leachate flowing at ground surface was eliminated, but groundwater continues to be impacted by leachate from the waste. The Forest Service, and El Dorado County are working to determine the extent of impacted groundwater and select appropriate remediation measures. An impermeable cap has been installed over the landfill to prevent infiltration of precipitation, which is producing leachate and impacting groundwater. On-going groundwater monitoring will determine the effects of the landfill cap and what groundwater remediation may be required.

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Joint Fire Science/Effectiveness and Longevity of Fuel Treatments in CA

Joint Fire Science

From 2009 through 2012, we were able to continue the Prescribed Fire Monitoring project described above for a subset of the fuel treatments. Those which received mechanical or prescribed fire treatment and were in coniferous systems (a total of 28 fuel treatments) were revisited to gather additional post-treatment data. The objectives of the grant were: (1) Determine the length of time that fuel treatments are effective at maintaining goals of reduced fire behavior, by measuring effects of treatments on canopy characteristics and surface fuel loads over time, and modeling potential fire behavior with custom fuel models, (2) Quantify the uncertainty associated with the use of standard and custom fuel models, and (3) Assess prescribed fire effects on carbon stocks and validate modeled outputs.

More about the CA Fuel Treatments Project