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Wildland Fire and Fuels

Projects

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 research objective is to develop western white pine management strategies focused on regeneration establishment and young forest development by 1) developing canopy opening size thresholds where western white pine can establish and grow, 2) developing alternative tending methods to enable managers to continue to manage western white pine plantations, 3) evaluating plantation resilience to wildfire, and 4) evaluating understory plant diversity under 30-year or older western white pine plantations.  
Through fire management and riparian ecosystem restoration RMRS researchers Terrie Jain, Kate Dwire, and Travis Warziniack are partnering with the University of Idaho and the Idaho City Ranger District to develop, implement, and evaluate different adaptive management strategies to improve the fire resiliency of the Boise National Forest. 
High Soil Temperature Data Archive - From Prescribed Fires and Wildfires across the Western US.
We will deliver a spatially explicit predictive tool depicting resilience to disturbance and resistance to cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion across the Great Basin.
Efforts to deploy genetically appropriate plant materials build on the concept of local adaptation, that is, the intent to match adaptive genetic characteristics to variation in ecological clines pertinent to plant establishment and persistence. Here, basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus (Scribn. & Merr.) Á. Löve) sources from 25 wild populations are planted at four test sites representing the species distribution across generalized provisional seed zones in the Central Basin and Range ecoregion. The study evaluates the utility of provisional seed zones as a means of matching seed sources to restoration sites.
This study evaluated the effects of species, sowing depth and dormancy status, and the treatment effect of row cover on field emergence of 20 forbs native to the Great Basin. Implemented at three sites in 2013 and 2014, forb seeds were sown at four planting depths within the expected variation of the Kemmerer Rangeland or Truax Rough Rider drills.
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.

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