Environmental Change and Fire

Science Center Objects

The effects of a changing environment can ripple throughout an ecosystem. Increased temperatures and more frequent and severe droughts in the future may influence wildfire patterns as well as water resources for communities. Dr. Jon Keeley and partners are using nearly a century’s worth of fire data to aid local landowners, and state and Federal agencies in planning for wildfire on evolving landscapes.

WERC’s Dr. Jon Keeley bridges the distance between collaborators like state and Federal agencies and landowners at the forefront of wildfire issues. As temperatures increase and droughts become more frequent and more severe, partnerships between all levels of fire management will become ever more critical to preserving natural resources and property.

High Temperatures, Droughts, and Wildfires: A Vision of the Future

Using nearly a century of data collected by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Dr. Keeley and colleagues are analyzing the relationship between climate and fire patterns. This long-term dataset will afford the scientists insight into the ways in which past climates have affected fire activity. The researchers will also examine the difference between temperature increases and risk of wildfire in spring, summer, fall and winter. Combined, these findings can support the efforts of resource managers with the USFS and local landowners to manage changing wildfire patterns in the future.


The Joint Fire Science Program

Dr. Keeley is a member of the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), a team of scientists and managers with expertise in the ecological, political, and economic issues surrounding wildfires. The program divides California and part of Nevada into four regions, each of which has its own branch devoted to engaging with local land managers and resource agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together, JFSP scientists can coordinate and develop new tools to distribute, organize, and summarize the latest fire science discoveries for managers on the ground.

Visit the California Fire Science Consortium webpage to learn more about the Program’s “Science Exchange Network.” The Consortium leads workshops and webinars for managers interested in learning how fire affects their local environment.

Also pay a visit to the JFSP’s homepage for a breakdown of regions across the nation. Information is available to regional managers from the East to the West coast.