You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

The Forest Service Leads an Interagency Team to Better Understand How Wildfires are Ignited

Photo of A community threatened by wildfire. National Interagency Fire CenterA community threatened by wildfire. National Interagency Fire CenterSnapshot : Forest Service, Department of Interior, and state land management agencies collaborated in a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy science team to better understand trends and causes of wildfires. The resulting assessment document was designed to uncover likely avenues for advancing research and development, assisting wildland managers and policy makers in reducing the overall costs and losses from unwanted wildfires.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Prestemon, Jeffrey P.  
Research Location : Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 731


Government and private land managers seek solutions to the persistent occurrence of human-ignited wildfires, which are more likely to occur closer to values at risk. In an inter-agency effort involving experts from many state and federal agencies nationwide, the wildfire ignitions and prevention team developed a model that describes how wildfires of different causes are produced. A central finding is that there are many things that land manages can do to reduce the occurrence of wildfires, but their effectiveness depends in part on trends in the society as well as biophysical components of the environment. The analysts described how fires of various kinds vary in frequency across landscapes and over time, revealing potential avenues for intervention to reduce the losses attributable to wildfires. The team helped to advance the science and formulate better approaches to reducing wildfires across many ownership groups nationwide.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Maureen T. Brooks, Community Fire Planner
  • Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  • Dr. Todd J. Hawbaker, Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey
  • John Carpenter, Instructor/CCI Coordinator, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Michael Bowden, Fire Supervisor, Ohio Division of Forestry, Columbus, OH
  • Ronda Sutphen, Wildfire Mitigation Coordinator, Florida Forest Service
  • Samuel Scranton, Deputy Fire Use and Fuels Specialist, U.S. Department of the Interior

Program Areas