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U.S. Forest Service scientists at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory work to build our understanding of wildfire behavior and spread. Their work contributes to strategies for wildfire management and prevention. In this virtual field trip, Fire Lab researchers Sara McAllister and Mark Finney talk about wildfire behavior and the work being conducted at the Fire Lab. 

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Together with a team that included Bret Butler — a U.S. Forest Service engineer responsible for some of the most significant advances in wildland fire safety — Campbell analyzed 421,000 individual Strava records, then used the data to create a model that predicts how long it will take the average person to travel a specific route along a specific slope. The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Geography in May. 

Campbell is now refining the model by testing how hiking speed is affected by firefighters’ heavy packs, fire-retardant uniforms and unique fitness levels. Once that’s done, the Google Maps-style algorithm will be added to an app already being developed by the Forest Service — the Wildfire Safety Evaluator, or WiSE, which will be released later this summer and won’t require a cellphone signal to use. The first version of WiSE will help firefighters calculate how big their safety zone needs to be based on current weather, fire and terrain conditions; Campbell’s mapping component will come later.

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The Nature Conservancy and partners are now using this innovative, impact-free approach to measure dwarf bear poppy populations and study their habitat.

“This high-flying technology gives us hope for the future,” says Dr. Susan Meyer, Research Ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. “We’ve spent the last four decades protecting this rare plant. Now, with a comprehensive inventory and new information on the plant’s pollinators we hope to find ways to increase the population.”

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The U.S. Forest Service, Utah Valley University and The Nature Conservancy are examining how to manage the dwarf bear-poppy or bearclaw poppy, which has been on the decline for 40 years, The Spectrum & Daily News reported Friday.

The flower was first put on the federally endangered species list in 1979. It can only blossom in specific geological conditions.

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Utah Valley University, the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to help manage the wellbeing of the dwarf bear-poppy or bearclaw poppy.

The dwarf bear-poppy lives in Moenkopi formation conditions and in gypsum soil but has been declining in numbers since being listed as a federally endangered species in 1979.

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As emergency managers prepare for hurricane and wildfire seasons, they say growing development and higher population in vulnerable areas will likely amplify the damage and devastation.
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The research team on the grant also includes: Elizabeth Metcalf, associate professor of human dimensions at UM; Carol Miller, research ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute; and Dave McWethy, an assistant professor of earth sciences at Montana State University. Other coauthors include Cara Nelson and Brian Chaffin from UM, as well as researchers from 10 other institutions.
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From the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, NOVA tells the stories of residents who had to flee for their lives during the 2018 fire season. Scientists race to understand what’s behind the rise of record-breaking megafires across the American West take to the forest, and even a fire lab, in search of answers. They investigate how forestry practices, climate change, and the physics of fire itself play a role in the dramatic increase in wildfires in recent decades.
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With more sound forest management, trees could sequester enough carbon emissions to offset between $125.5 billion and more than $1.5 trillion in costs in the U.S., the Forest Service estimates. These totals are based on the avoided social costs of carbon emissions, including the destruction of property from flooding and other natural disasters, reduced agricultural yields from drought and exacerbation of health problems like asthma and other respiratory issues.

Cleaves, the former climate change adviser to the chief of the Forest Service, believes that restoring forest health is as much of a "key strategic asset" to the fight against warming as economic solutions, including a carbon tax and cap-and-trade programs.

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Biochar is charcoal from wood burning that is used to improve soil conditions for growing crops and to foster forest health. That knowledge is not new but in an effort to improve harvests without the need for undesirable chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Biochar is getting a lot of worldwide attention in recent years. If you operate an Air Burners FireBox you too can make a fair amount of Biochar without much effort and add a profit line to your business. Biochar, as a porous carbon substance that retains water makes nutrients more available thereby strengthening plants in agriculture, gardening and woodlands. It is produced naturally by forest fires and agricultural field burning.

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