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: June 24, 2020

Wildfire Support from 438 Miles Above

USGS Fire Science is fundamental to understanding the causes, consequences, and benefits of wildfire and helps prevent and manage larger, catastrophic events. USGS scientists and programs provide information and develop tools that are widely used by stakeholders to make decisions before, during, and after wildfires across the nation.

Date published: May 18, 2020

RAMPS Newsletter - Spring 2020 Edition

This season's edition of the Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest Newsletter contains recent program highlights including research updates from our RestoreNet experiment, recently awarded funding, field updates and more.

To subscribe to our newsletter, please visit: ...

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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: February 1, 2018

LANDFIRE Data Distribution

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

Date published: March 4, 2016

Wildfires: GEOMAC

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

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Date published: March 7, 2016

Emergency Assessment of Post-Fire 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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Color photo of a fire and Frank Fay with the Eyes on Earth podcast logo
April 22, 2020

Eyes on Earth Episode 24 - Wildfire Risk to Communities

The U.S. has plenty of data on wildfire risk. There are local and regional risk assessments, complex datasets like LANDFIRE and tracking tools like the EROS Fire Danger Monitor, as well as a host of resources and research projects devoted to the subject. But much of that information is steeped in the language of fire science and difficult to comprehend for those outside it

A group of people sit in a meeting around a big circle of tables.
February 20, 2020

RestoreNet Partner Meeting

Land managers representing National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Navajo Nation, private ranches and farms attend the first RestoreNet stakeholder meeting at the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center in February 2020. 

A group of people stand around a map laid out in the back of a truck while on a field trip.
November 13, 2019

Managing Fire on the US Mexico Borderlands

RAMPS met with DOI Office of Wildland Fire, US Customs and Border Patrol, and US Fish & Wildlife Service staff at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern AZ last November. The group is developing tools to reduce wildfire risk, conserve wildlife habitat and natural resources, and increase safety and security of border operations.

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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 (

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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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

September 14, 2012

Living with Fire: Chaparral Removal

Southern California's fire ecology is unlike that of anywhere else in the United States. Fire control strategies developed for mountain forests don't have the same results here. So can science help uncover new answers to help Southern California communities manage and live with wildfires? This 10 minute film showcases ongoing USGS research supporting agencies on the

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Date published: June 24, 2020

Wildfire Support from 438 Miles Above

USGS Fire Science is fundamental to understanding the causes, consequences, and benefits of wildfire and helps prevent and manage larger, catastrophic events. USGS scientists and programs provide information and develop tools that are widely used by stakeholders to make decisions before, during, and after wildfires across the nation.

Date published: May 18, 2020

RAMPS Newsletter - Spring 2020 Edition

This season's edition of the Restoration Assessment and Monitoring Program for the Southwest Newsletter contains recent program highlights including research updates from our RestoreNet experiment, recently awarded funding, field updates and more.

To subscribe to our newsletter, please visit: ...

Date published: September 13, 2019

Fast Fire Facts from USGS

 

You’ve got questions about USGS fire science. We’ve got answers.

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. 

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