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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MagnifyEvaluating Alternative Fuel Treatments in the South Shore Wildland Urban Interface Area

We will develop the fuels data and management alternatives needed to reduce fire hazard in the South Shore Project of the Lake Tahoe Management Unit, Tahoe National Forest. Using an integrated approach that links two commonly used tools-the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS)-we will develop a range of management alternatives appropriate for application in the wildland-urban interface. Alternatives will include various combinations of forest thinning and surface fuel treatments, including the effect of treatments over time. This project builds on the TSC-funded project “Developing FCCS Fuelbeds for the Angora Fire Region” (PIs: R. Ottmar, H. Safford) for which fuelbeds are already developed, many of which will be directly applicable to the South Shore Project. Reducing fire hazard in the WUI is a high priority in the Lake Tahoe Basin. By developing a comprehensive fuels map and documenting effective alternatives for reducing fuels, we will provide the scientific basis for hazardous fuels reduction, vegetation management, and restoration in the WUI. Our approach will also provide a clear, visual means of communicating WUI management alternatives to resource managers, local residents, and decision makers. This approach will be applicable for other planning areas in the Lake Tahoe Basin WUI areas such as the Incline Hazardous Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Restoration Project.

Project Objectives

  • Build site-specific, comprehensive fuelbeds for the South Shore Project
  • Collaborate with fire and forest managers on designing a potential fuel treatment matrix of alternative thinning and surface fuel treatments
  • Develop an interface between FFE-FVS and FCCS. Create a post-processing program for FVS that will take output values generated from model projections and save them to a database in XML format that can be recognized by FCCS
  • Evaluate the effects of alternative fuel treatments and project FCCS fuelbeds 30 years to evaluate treatment longevity
  • Map fire hazard in South Shore planning area using FCCS fire potentials and FFE-FVS fire indices
  • Conduct a beta test with Lake Tahoe Basin managers and scientists to ensure that the new integration work and provide accurate results and is simple to use
  • Conduct a workshop to demonstrate and train selected managers on how to use the integrated system
  • Prepare and present one or more progress reports to the Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region and other stakeholders

Expected Completion: October 31, 2012

Project Lead: Morris Johnson

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