Wildland Fire Science


USGS Fire Science is fundamental to understanding the causes, consequences, and benefits of wildfire and helps prevent and manage larger, catastrophic events. USGS scientists possess diverse technical capabilities that are used to address a variety of problems posed by wildland fires. Outcomes of USGS science can be used by fire and land managers to respond to fire-related issues when they arise.

Diverse Fire Science Topics

Diverse Fire Science Topics

Learn more about the different ways that USGS science is used for wildland fire management.

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Browse USGS Fire Science Publications

Browse USGS Fire Science Publications

Get more information about recent scientific publications produced by USGS that deal with wildland fire science.



Date published: June 12, 2019

AK CASC Program Coordinator Publishes Scientific American Article on Wildfire in Alaska

The Program Coordinator at the AK CASC recently published an article in Scientific American Observations about the growing threat of wildfires in Alaska.

Date published: May 31, 2019

Thinning Forests: Prescribing Fire Before Drought May Reduce Tree Loss

The results of a study partly funded by the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center suggest that prescribed fire treatments may reduce tree loss during future droughts and bark beetle epidemics.

Date published: May 14, 2019

Climate, Fire, and Forest Change in California’s Sierra Nevada

The southwest CASC has developed an informational handout that summarizes and synthesizes information on climate, fire, and forest change in California’s iconic Sierra Nevada. This useful resource provides a summary of key management issues and options for adaptation in this important region.


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Year Published: 2019

Developing an expert elicited simulation model to evaluate invasive species and fire management alternatives

Invasive species can alter ecosystem properties and cause state shifts in landscapes. Resource managers charged with maintaining landscapes require tools to understand implications of alternative actions (or inactions) on landscape structure and function. Simulation models can serve as a virtual laboratory to explore these alternatives and their...

Jarnevich, Catherine S.; Cullinane Thomas, Catherine; Young, Nicholas E.; Backer, Dana M.; Cline, Sarah A.; Frid, Leonardo; Grissom, Perry

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Year Published: 2019

The ecological uncertainty of wildfire fuel breaks: examples from the sagebrush steppe

Fuel breaks are increasingly being implemented at broad scales (100s to 10,000s of square kilometers) in fire‐prone landscapes globally, yet there is little scientific information available regarding their ecological effects (eg habitat fragmentation). Fuel breaks are designed to reduce flammable vegetation (ie fuels), increase the safety and...

Shinneman, Douglas; Germino, Matthew J.; Pilliod, David S.; Aldridge, Cameron L.; Vaillant, Nicole; Coates, Peter S.

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Year Published: 2019

Calibration of Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) to simulate prefire and postfire hydrologic response in the upper Rio Hondo Basin, New Mexico

The Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) is widely used to simulate the effects of climate, topography, land cover, and soils on landscape-level hydrologic responses and streamflow. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, developed procedures to apply...

Douglas-Mankin, Kyle R.; Moeser, C. David
Douglas-Mankin, K.R., and Moeser, C.D., 2019, Calibration of Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) to simulate prefire and postfire hydrologic response in the upper Rio Hondo Basin, New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5022, 25 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195022.