The Bureau of Land Management Fire and Aviation Directorate issued an “Operations Alert” memo on March 24, 2020 that contains recommendations and guidelines for wildland fire programs during this time of the coronavirus. See the full memo here (pdf) and consider sharing it with your colleagues working in prescribed fire and wildland fire management.Continue Reading
Planning for the impacts of the novel coronavirus on wildland fire operations has been a hot topic lately. See this guide (NWCG Infectious Disease Guidance for Wildland Fire Incidents) from the NWCG Emergency Medical Committee for recommendations and considerations when planning for wildland fire incident management activities. Remember that this guide:
“…does not supersede the guidance or direction of local health authorities but supplements existing direction from them.”
The Joint Fire Science Program announced this week the potential funding opportunity (FOA) topics for 2020. There are three research topics tentatively selected for 2020 along with the Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) Award. The purpose of providing advance notice of FOA topics is to provide research teams the opportunity to cultivate partnerships for effective science creation and delivery. Excitingly, this year the forecast FOA includes several topics that are particularly relevant to the Southern region. As your proposals come together over the upcoming months, consider reaching out to your local Fire Science Exchange to discuss opportunities for science coproduction and delivery.
The final FOA will be posted in July 2020. Read the full Forecast FOA here: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=325472.
A. Relative impacts of prescribed and wildland fire
Although the documented benefits of prescribed fire are numerous including habitat improvement and hazardous fuel reduction, there are drawbacks as well, such as reductions in air quality, which may impact human health. Prescribed fire is often implemented with the assumption that it will mitigate the effects of uncontrolled wildfire, because prescribed fire has been shown to reduce the intensity of subsequent wildfire under certain conditions. This is desirable because the impacts of wildfire are usually of a higher magnitude, larger in size and intensity, and pose a risk to public safety. To fully evaluate the trade-offs between prescribed fire programs and current wildfire impacts, an assessment framework is vital. Currently, there is little information on the spatial scale, frequency and spatial pattern at which prescribed fire begins to have an impact on subsequent wildfire extent, intensity and severity. As a result, JFSP is interested in proposals that improve our understanding of the relationship between prescribed fire programs and subsequent wildfire characteristics and this information is needed across a variety of vegetation types and regions.
B. Types and distribution of ignitions and their relation to fire size and impacts
One approach to reducing the negative impacts of wildfire to social and ecological values is to reduce the occurrence of human-caused wildfire ignitions with targeted wildfire prevention strategies. Planning and implementing effective fire prevention strategies requires detailed knowledge of the temporal and spatial distribution of different wildfire ignition sources (e.g., arson, accidental, lightning) and factors that influence whether different ignition sources lead to development of large wildfires. As a result, JFSP is interested in proposals that evaluate driving factors for the spatial and temporal distribution of ignitions and the effectiveness of different fire prevention actions as they relate to different human-caused ignitions.
C. Science in support of fuel treatment performance metrics
While it is relatively easy to document changes in fuels conditions following treatments at finer spatial scales, there is currently no objective framework to link fuel conditions to desired outcomes (e.g., reducing fire intensity and severity, improving fire suppression efficacy, reducing resource loss) at the landscape level. Such information is critical for developing cost-effective strategies to address the threats of wildfire. One possible strategy is to consider the evaluation of fuels treatment programs using a risk framework, where the probability and intensity of wildfire is considered in conjunction with valued resources. The development of a risk framework should assist agencies in measuring the extent and duration of risk reduction that could be achieved from a given fuel treatment. As a result, JFSP is interested in proposals that improve our understanding of the impacts of fuels treatments on fire suppression efficiency and protection of valued resources including the development of fuel treatment performance metrics at landscape scales.
GRIN FOA – Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) Award
In partnership with the Association for Fire Ecology, the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) will likely continue the Graduate Research Innovation (GRIN) program for current master and doctoral students in the field of wildland fire and related physical, biological, and social sciences. The purpose of these awards is to enhance student exposure to the management and policy relevance of their research. As a result, these awards will enable graduate students to conduct research that will supplement and enhance the quality, scope, or applicability of their thesis or dissertation to develop information and products useful to managers and decision-makers.
Proposals must describe new, unfunded work that extends ongoing or planned research that is the subject of a thesis or dissertation that has been approved by the graduate student’s advisory committee. Proposals must be directly related to the mission and goals of JFSP to be considered, and they must address management- or policy-related questions related to one or more of the following general topic areas: fuels management and fire behavior, emissions and air quality, fire effects and post-fire recovery, relative impacts of prescribed fire versus wildfire, or human dimensions of fire.
Oregon State University Extension has a new (March 2020) fact sheet that summarizes recent research on prescribed fire liability, risk, injury and insurance. The fact sheet concludes with a list of recommendations and practices for reducing risk while conducting prescribed fires. Check out the fact sheet via the link above.Continue Reading
The NEW SFE PB-Piedmont fact sheet (pdf) is out! PB-Piedmont is is a web browser-based tool for modeling nighttime and early morning smoke movement in the Piedmont region of the South. PB-Piedmont is useful for predicting where smoke and fog may accumulate at night to assess the potential for impacting roadways or smoke sensitive areas. Validation tests have shown that PB-Piedmont also works in other regions with less significant topographic relief. Check out the new fact sheet and then go try out the model yourself.
The team developing IFTDSS released an Exposure Analysis fact sheet (pdf) that highlights features of the new integrated Exposure Analysis tool in IFTDSS. Exposure analysis is a step towards developing a quantitative wildfire risk assessment (a IFTDSS feature coming this fall).
“IFTDSS is a web-based application designed to make fuels treatment planning and analysis more efficient and effective. IFTDSS provides access to data and models through one simple user interface. It is available to all interested users, regardless of agency or organizational affiliation.”
In an effort to continue to promote the scholarly pursuits and graduate level training within the global wildland fire community, in 2019 the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) will again be awarding two graduate-level scholarships, each valued at $3,000USD to IAWF members who are Master of Science/Arts (MSc/MA) or Doctoral (PhD) students studying wildland fire or wildland fire related topics.Continue Reading
The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) now has an official YouTube channel. Looking for those WFSTAR, Training Courses and Wildland Fire Leadership Development videos?Continue Reading
Yale Environment 360
Scientists are tracking an increase in a little-known phenomenon in which intense wildfires can spawn their own thunderstorms, known as pyroCbs. Lightning from these storms can spark additional blazes far away and send plumes of smoke and aerosols into the stratosphere.