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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Nicole Vaillant

Nicole Vaillant

Ecologist
3160 NE Third St, PO Box 490
Prineville
Oregon
United States
97754-8119

Phone: 541-416-6600
Contact Nicole Vaillant


Current Research

Assessing the mid- to long-term impact of fuel treatments with empirical data
We have been gathering field data prior to and up to 15 years post-treatment across the National Forests in California to determine the length of time that fuel treatments are effective, quantify forest, fuel and vegetation dynamics, and assess prescribed fire effects on carbon stocks.

Spatial and temporal assessment of fires in the Pacific Northwest
Wildfire can be both a threat to forest health and as an essential tool to achieve ecological restoration and promote resilient forests in the face of a changing climate. The objectives of this research are to define how much characteristic and uncharacteristic fire the Pacific Northwest is currently experiencing from the perspective of ecosystems' historic fire regimes, and quantify the extent current fires are “restorative”.

Wildfire risk assessments for various values at risk
Objectives of this research are to incorporate large-fire spread and intensity into a quantitative risk framework, and apply the framework on fire-prone federally managed lands to test several hypotheses regarding fire spread and effects on federal land management strategies such as fuel treatment effectiveness and large fire cost savings.

Characterizing burn severity using multiple methods - Pole Creek Fire
The most common approach to characterize burn severity across large landscapes is to use remotely sensed data, satellite imagery or LiDAR, from before and after a fire burns. However, these methods can be limited in dense forest stands because of their inability to see the impact of fire on all levels of vegetation. We collected field data to calibrate the remotely sensed data and to assess whether remotely sensed data accurately predicts burn severity.

Assessment of the National Forest Service fuel treatment program
We are using nationally available geospatial data to quantify the national fuels treatment program accomplishments to answer see if are we treating enough fuels to promote/maintain resilient landscapes, and are we treating fuels in the correct locations to reduce wildfire hazard?

Research Interests

My general research interests include characterizing fire behavior at multiple scales, burn severity patterns, fuel treatment effects and effectiveness, and wildfire risk analyses. I am involved in both plot-level empirical assessments and geospatial analyses using pre-existing data for large landscapes. In particular I've focused on understanding how fuel treatments and wildfires have altered vegetation and fuel loads overtime, potential wildfire behavior, and risk to values and assets.

Education

  • University of California - Berkeley, Ph.D. Environmental Science Policy and Management 2008
  • University of California - Berkeley, M.S. Environmental Science Policy and Management 2005
  • University of California - Davis, B.S. Evolution and Ecology 2001

Professional Experience

  • Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station - Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center
    2010 - Current
  • Applied Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Washington Office, FAM - Fuels & Fire Ecology
    2015 - 2015
    This was a promotional detail from January to May, 2015.
  • Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team
    2003 - 2010
  • Graduate Student Instructor, University of California - Berkeley, College of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
    2007 - 2007
    Graduate Student Instructor for Multiple Resource Silviculture
  • Graduate Student Researcher, University of California - Berkeley, College of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
    2003 - 2007
  • Forestry Technician (Wildland firefighter), USDA Forest Service - Redding Interagency Hotshot Crew
    2006 - 2006
  • Forestry Technician (Wildland firefighter), USDA Forest Service
    2000 - 2002
    Seasonal employee on wildland fire hand crews and engines.

Professional Organizations

  • Association for Fire Ecology, Member (2008 - Current)
  • International Association of Wildland Fire, Member (2006 - Current)
  • Xi Sigma Pi, Beta Chapter, Member (2006 - Current)
  • Student Association For Fire Ecology, Co-Chair (2003 - 2008)

Awards & Recognition

  • Outstanding achievement award, 2016
    Continued support of the CFLR program
  • Performance bonus award, 2015
    For outstanding performance by exceeding expectations in mission accomplishments.
  • Performance bonus award, 2014
    For superior performance by exceeding expectations in mission accomplishments.
  • Performance bonus award, 2013
    For superior performance by exceeding expectations in mission accomplishments.
  • Outstanding achievement award, 2012
    Support of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program.
  • Perfromance bonus award, 2010
    Continued development and application of ArcFuels training modules.
  • Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award, 2007
    Awarded for Multiple Resource Silviculture
  • California-Nevada-Hawaii Forest Fire Council Scholarship, 2007
    Awarded to two students a year in California, Nevada, or Hawaii to support individuals pursuing an education that will lead to a career in a wildland fire related profession.
  • Perfomance bonus award, 2004
    For superior performance by exceeding expectations in mission accomplishments.

Featured Publications & Products

Publications

Citations of non US Forest Service Publications

  • Sankey, J.B.; McVay, J.; Kreitler, J.; Hawbaker, T.J.; Vaillant, N.M.; Lowe S. 2015. Predicting watershed post-fire sediment yield with the InVEST sediment retention model: accuracy and uncertainties. Proceedings of papers of the 5th Federal Interagency Hydrologic Modeling Conference and the 10th Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference.

    Alexander, M.E.; Cruz, M.G.; Vaillant, N.M. 2014. Introduction to the special issue on crown fire behavior in conifer forests. Fire Management Today 73(4): 6-7.

    Alexander, M.E.; Cruz, M.G.; Vaillant, N.M. 2014. Toward improving our application and understanding of crown fire behavior. Fire Management Today 73(4): 46-47.

    Vaillant, N.M.; Ewell, C.M.; Fites-Kaufman, J.A. 2014. Capturing crown fire behavior on wildland fires—the Fire Behavior Assessment Team in action. Fire Management Today 73(4): 41-45.

    Vaillant, N.M.; Stephens, S.L. 2009. Fire history of a lower elevation Jeffrey pine-mixed conifer forest in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Fire Ecology. 5(3):4-19.

    Vaillant, N.M.; Fites-Kaufman, J.; Reiner, A.L.; Noonan-Wright, E.K.; Dailey, S.N. 2009. Effect of fuel treatments on fuels and potential fire behavior in California National Forests. Fire Ecology. 5(2):14-29.

    Vaillant, N.M.; Fites-Kaufman, J.; Stephens, S.L. 2009. Effectiveness of prescribed fire as a fuel treatment in Californian coniferous forests. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 18:165-175

Research Highlights

HighlightTitleYear


PNW-2016-270
An Evaluation of the Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Treatment Program

Are fuel management treatments implemented broadly enough as well as sited correctly?A core goal of the Cohesive Strategy is to manage fuels at ...

2016


PNW-2015-64
Scientists Assess Effectiveness of Fuels Reduction Treatments in California

Fuel treatments are used to abate undesirable fire behavior and effects. Short-term effectiveness of fuel treatments to alter fire behavior and ...

2015


Last updated on : 12/06/2018