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USGS researchers created an interactive Fuels Guide and Database, providing vegetation and fuel loading information and photographs for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) in southern Idaho.

Non-native plants are prevalent in sagebrush sites across much of the Great Basin and they promote frequent wildfires by altering fuel conditions. To create the database, researchers sampled approximately 1,900 points located within 211 1-hectare plots distributed across the entire NCA of approximately 240,000 hectares, and collected information on vegetation composition, cover, height, and biomass for fuel-load estimates. Users have the ability to query vegetation and environmental variables to refine estimates of fuel load to match current conditions for a particular area. Although currently limited to the NCA, the Fuels Guide and Database could be expanded to serve as a powerful tool for assessing fuel loads in sagebrush sites throughout the Great Basin.


Shinneman, D.J., Welty, J.L., Arkle, R.S., Pilliod, D.S., Glenn, N.F., McIlroy, S.K., Halford, A.S., 2018, Fuels guide and database for intact and invaded big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites—User manual: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series Report 1048, p. 9,

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