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Fire, Fuel and Smoke

Projects

Many scientists from the Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire, Fuel, and Smoke (FFS) program are intimately involved with various aspects of fire management, including both prescribed fires and wildfires. These activities provide operational experience and the opportunity to observe fire in many different vegetation types. FFS employees have worked on lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service (USFS), Colville Agency, Yakama Agency, State of Idaho, State of Alaska, and the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association. Explore the work that each of our FFS employees participated in.
In April, 2015 the Helena National Forest (HNF) requested that the Fire Modeling Institute conduct a wildfire probability modeling and risk assessment study to analyze proposed fuel treatments in the project area. The HNF requested this study include modeling the probability of burning, potential fire behavior, and identification of areas where large fires and/or fires potentially destructive to structures were most likely to originate.
Effective and efficient risk-based management requires integrated knowledge, systems and planning tools that explore the interaction of the full range of land and fire management activities. The Wildfire Risk Management team is working to develop and demonstrate the power of integrating fire-risk science across the full range of fire management activities. This work will include the first pilot study of changes in wildfire risk across time, using the prototype LANDFIRE time series dataset, created specifically for the study landscape.
Synergistic interactions of climate change, mountain pine beetle infestations, and wildfire are likely to catalyze landscape-scale changes in vegetation distributions, successional stage, forest structure, and wildlife habitat suitability. Our research will provide forest managers with information they need to project changes to habitat suitability for wildlife under a range of alternative climate and management scenarios.
This work provides an overview of sources of data for United States wildfire activity analyses and highlights major reporting biases, inconsistencies, and uncertainty within data source.  
The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) provides scientific information for resource management, restoration, rehabilitation, and fire management. FEIS continues to improve its service to managers by providing new and updated products and a new user interface is currently under development.
Multi-century fire and forest histories are reconstructed using dendrochronological techniques to assess past variation in fire regimes at various scales of time and space.
Variation in composition, structure,  recruitment history, and genetic heterozygosity are being assessed for Great Basin bristlecone pine stands across the full geographic and ecological range of distribution.
This project explored fire behavior attributes under three levels of tree mortality in a southwestern U.S. forest dominated by ponderosa pine at three stages: pre-outbreak (“green stage”), immediately post-mortality when dead needles remain on trees (“red stage”), and when needles drop to the ground (“gray stage”).
Longleaf pine ecosystems are remarkably rich in plant species and represent the dominant upland forest type in several southeastern military bases. We are coupling a series of field experiments with data mining exercises to help managers monitor the impact of various activities on the understory plant community.

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