Programs L2 Landing Page
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maps of current fire locations and perimeters in the conterminous 48 States and Alaska.
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.
Drone footage of a prescribed fire at Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida (April 19, 2017).
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 peak flow occured about 3 minutes after the intial surge.
Visit our new USGS fire webpage to learn how USGS fire science is making a difference
With hurricanes in the east and wildfires in the west, natural hazards 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.
Keep tabs on wildfire activity via this U.S. Geological Survey website, GeoMAC.
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.
September is National Preparedness Month, a time to highlight the resources available to help you and your loved ones stay as safe as possible.
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.
In what year did the United States experience the most acres burned from wildfires (on record)?
Are you and your family ready for the next disaster or emergency? Get tips by joining America’s PrepareAthon!
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.