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Fire, Fuel and Smoke

Projects

In a collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Wildland Fire Sensor Challenge was conducted to solicit and evaluate next-generation air measurement technology in pursuit of an easy to deploy, reliable, and accurate on-demand smoke monitoring network. During the initial phase of the challenge, three prototype systems were identified for further development and testing. Second generation sensors will be evaluated by the USFS/EPA research team in spring 2019.
Large wildfires are inherently more complex; often affecting multiple jurisdictions and requiring a balance of strategic long-term planning and nimble tactical solutions to meet dynamic conditions on the ground.  With this increase in complexity comes increased uncertainty.
The increasing complexity of the wildfire management environment has also created challenges for managing the exposure of wildfire responders to operational hazards.  Firefighting is an inherently high-risk occupation and the fire environment is fraught with hazards that consistently cause injuries and fatalities each year.  While some number of these hazards can be mitigated with improved safety equipment, communications, and safety protocols once responders are deployed.  It is up to the fire command staff to determine, where and under what conditions the risk/benefit trade off of deploying boots on the ground makes sense.
District and Forest Fire staff recently met with local cooperators and resource specialists to develop maps of potential control lines that they could use while managing a fire. Maps of control lines and potential operational delineations (PODs) are being developed for the entire Forest with the assistance of researchers from USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute.
Post-fire resiliency of plant communities in northern mixed-grass prairie and eastern sagebrush steppe depends largely on plant regeneration from aboveground and belowground buds. Canopy and stem regeneration occurs more quickly via the bud bank than via seedling recruitment. To better predict plant community responses to fire, we need an enhanced understanding of the immediate and long-term bud responses of key forb, grass, and shrub species to fire.  
The Lassen and Modoc National Forests are revising their Forest Plans, guided by the 2012 Planning Rule. This requires public and tribal input throughout the process and embraces the fact that ecological, social, and economic objectives are interrelated. Because ecological, social, and economic conditions have changed since the original forest plans were written and new science is available, preparing a science synthesis, guided by input from the public, tribes, and forest staffs, is the first step in a multi-step process that eventually leads to revised forest plans.
Grand fir and western hemlock mortality and regeneration dynamics after wildfire and salvage.
Evaluating effects of climate change on whitebark pine trees.
A new fuel loading sampling method is developed to quickly and accurately estimate loadings for six surface fuel components using downward-looking and oblique photographs depicting sequences of graduated fuel loadings by fuel component.
Lick Creek Demonstration-Research Forest: 25-year fire and cutting effects on vegetation and fuels.

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