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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Forest Service research supports Washington State’s Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot Project

Photo of A researcher collects fuel samples during a prescribed burn as part ofWashington State’s Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot project. A researcher collects fuel samples during a prescribed burn as part ofWashington State’s Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot project. Snapshot : Forest Service researchers characterized fuel before and after prescribed burns in eastern Washington State and assessed post-fire tree mortality. The state is using these finding to develop a forest resilience burning program.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Ottmar, Roger D. 
Research Location : Washington
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1342

Summary

After the large wildfire seasons of 2014 and 2015 in Washington State, the state legislature tasked the Washington Department of Natural Resources to conduct a forest resiliency burning pilot project to monitor and evaluate the benefits of forest resiliency burning on air quality and to investigate means of increasing the use of prescribed burns in forests across the state. This large-scale, interagency effort involved approximately 15 prescribed burns sites on state and national forest lands. The Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station was specifically asked by the state to provide science support for this pilot project. Roger Ottmar, a research forester with the research station, led the effort to characterize the pre- and post-fire fuels and assess post-fire tree damage and mortality. Data from this project was used to evaluate the model "Consume," developed at the research station, and currently used in Washington's smoke management program. The follow-up reports presented to the state legislature will help the state develop a forest resiliency burning program that will maintain healthy forests and limit uncontrolled wildfires while protecting ambient air quality.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Colville National Forest
  • National Fire Plan
  • Okanagan-Wenatchee National Forest
  • USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region
  • University of Washington
  • Washington Department of Ecology
  • Washington Department of Fish and Game
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources