Wildfire Hazards

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We carry out a wide range of wildfire-related science activities that span multiple USGS mission areas, including landscape ecology studies, geospatial support for fire response, burned area hydrology, and post-fire debris flow warnings.

News

Date published: September 18, 2018

Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk

USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.

Date published: September 18, 2018

USGS Science – Leading the Way for Preparedness

Learn About USGS Hazards Science and More About National Preparedness Month: The very nature of natural hazards means that they have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year.  USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Date published: July 27, 2018

Follow National Wildfire Information in the Palm of Your Hand: GeoMAC Goes Mobile

The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using a smartphone.

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Date published: March 2, 2016

Satellite Data Applications for Fire Science

Our satellite remote sensing research and applications are essential for providing required data for mapping fire fuels, assessing fire effects, monitoring fire danger, and measuring progress in implementing the National Fire Plan. Land management agencies, scientific communities, and citizenry affected by wildland fires can benefit from our work.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS)

MTBS is a multi-year project designed to map the burn severity and perimeters of fire across all lands of the United States for the period spanning 1984 through 2010. The data generated by MTBS will be used to identify national trends in burn severity and evaluate the effectiveness of the National Fire Plan and Healthy Forest Restoration Act.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Post-Wildfire Landslide Hazards

Post-fire landslides are particularly hazardous because they can occur with little warning, can exert great force on objects in their paths, can strip vegetation, block drainage ways, damage structures, and endanger human life. Our focus is to develop tools and methods for the prediction of post-wildfire landslide activity and hazard delineation.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Fire Ecology

Ecosystems throughout the western U.S. are often dependent on a particular fire regime to reduce hazardous fuels and rejuvenate forests or even guide evolution of plant life and regulate ecological communities. Today fire’s role is more complicated. For example, fire can favor invasive plants and these invaders may, in turn, alter the fire regime.

Date published: March 2, 2016

Change and Disturbances

Organisms have different abilities to adapt to disturbances. Some disturbances can be catastrophic to one species and inconsequential to another. Our Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center (FRESC) scientists are studying the effects of disturbances on species, biogeochemistry, water quality, habitat connectivity and landscape patterns.

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Date published: March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.

Date published: March 4, 2016

LANDFIRE Data Distribution

Map interface to view and download LANDFIRE data sets, receive alerts and notifications.

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Date published: March 7, 2016

Emergency Assessment of Post-Wildfire Debris-Flow Hazards

We conduct post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for select fires in the Western U.S. We use geospatial data related to basin morphometry, burn severity, soil properties, and rainfall characteristics to estimate the probability and volume of debris flows that may occur in response to a design storm.

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January 4, 2018

Image of the Week - Southern California Wildfires Update

After a month, the wildfires of Southern California are nearly contained. Landsat 8 imagery shows the dramatic burn scars left behind.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (

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color photo
December 31, 2017

Understory - EROS LiDAR

Example of lidar-derived metric products of canopy structure. A) Image showing an area characterized by varied forest strands.  (Red box shows from where profile data in E area taken.) B) Lidar-derived maximum canopy height.  C) Lidar-derived height of low- to medium-height vegetation beneath the overstory canopy. D) Density of vegetation at 2-4 m within the canopy.  Note

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April 19, 2017

Prescribed Burn — Tall Timbers Research Station, FL (Drone)

Drone footage of a prescribed fire at Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida (April 19, 2017).

July 19, 2015

Post-wildfire Flood and Debris Flow: 2014 Silverado Fire

In 2014, the Silverado Fire burned approximately 4 km^2 in Orange County, California. After the fire, the USGS installed an automated rain-triggered camera to monitor post-wildfire flooding and debris flow at the outlet of a small 0.6 km^2 basin within the burn area. This video shows the initial surge and peak flow triggered by an intense rainstorm on July 19, 2015. The

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Date published: September 18, 2018

Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk

USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.

Date published: September 18, 2018

USGS Science – Leading the Way for Preparedness

Learn About USGS Hazards Science and More About National Preparedness Month: The very nature of natural hazards means that they have the potential to impact a majority of Americans every year.  USGS science provides part of the foundation for emergency preparedness whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

Date published: July 27, 2018

Follow National Wildfire Information in the Palm of Your Hand: GeoMAC Goes Mobile

The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using a smartphone.

Date published: May 7, 2018

EROS Work Called 'Critical' to Wildfire Mapping, Response

Remotely-sensed data key to response in tracking danger in areas like Montecito 

Date published: May 24, 2017

Igniting a New Trend in Public Safety

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and partners are taking technology to the next level, using unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called drones, to acquire both fire intensity and emissions data during prescribed burns.

Date published: September 1, 2016

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, a time to highlight the resources available to help you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible. 

Date published: August 11, 2016

Discover Jemez Postwildfire Debris-Flow Hazards With the Click of a Mouse

A new interactive map and companion report from the U.S. Geological Survey allows residents living in and around New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains to see where they’re located in relation to postwildfire debris-flow hazards.

Date published: June 28, 2016

Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

In what year did the United States experience the most acres burned from wildfires (on record)?

Date published: April 18, 2016

Five Science Tools to Check Out — Get Prepared

Are you and your family ready for the next disaster or emergency? Get tips by joining America’s PrepareAthon!

Date published: September 28, 2015

Join America’s PrepareAthon! Practice what to do in the event of a disaster or emergency.

Join millions of people participating in America’s PrepareAthon! on Sept. 30. This campaign encourages the nation to conduct drills, discussions and exercises to practice what to do before, during and after a disaster or emergency strikes.

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