Escalated wildfire activity within the western U.S. has widespread societal impacts and long-term consequences for the imperiled sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) biome. Shifts from historical fire regimes and the interplay between frequent disturbance and invasive annual grasses may initiate permanent state transitions as wildfire frequency outpaces sagebrush communities' innate capacity to recover. Therefore, wildfire management is at the core of conservation plans for sagebrush ecosystems, especially critical habitat for species of conservation concern such as the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse). Fuel breaks help facilitate wildfire suppression by modifying behavior through fuels modification and allowing safe access points for containment by firefighters. We performed a retrospective assessment of probability of fuel break contributing to wildfire containment on all wildfire and fuel break interactions from 1985-2018 within the western U.S. We characterized environmental, fuels, and weather conditions within 500 meters of wildfire contact, and within 5 kilometers of the approaching wildfire. We used a binomial generalized mixed model framework with a binomial distribution to identify relationships between these variables and fuel break success. We used the probability of success as predicted from this model to generate maps of predicted probability of success of fuel breaks by resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasion classes for (a) brown strips, (b) mowed strips, (c) green strips, and (d) grand mean effects for all treatment types across the western U.S. These maps can be used to inform urgently needed fuel break placement, characteristics, and maintenance priorities across the sagebrush biome.
These data support the following publication:
Weise, C.L., Brussee, B.E., Coates, P.S., Shinneman, D.J., Crist, M.R., Aldridge, C.L., Heinrichs, J.A. and Ricca, M.A., 2023. A retrospective assessment of fuel break effectiveness for containing rangeland wildfires in the sagebrush biome. Journal of Environmental Management, 341, p.117903. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.117903.
|Title||Predictive Maps of Fuel Break Effectiveness by Treatment Type and Underlying Resilience to Disturbance and Resistance to Invasion Across the Western U.S.|
|Authors||Brianne E Brussee, Cali L Roth, Peter S Coates, Douglas Shinneman, Michele R Crist, Cameron Aldridge, Julie A Heinrichs, Mark Ricca, Michael P Chenaille|
|Product Type||Data Release|
|Record Source||USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog|
|USGS Organization||Western Ecological Research Center|