Wildland Fire Science

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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.

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Current Wildfire Hazards in the U.S.

Current Wildfire Hazards in the U.S.

Use the USGS GEOMAC tool to see the locations of current and past wildfires in the U.S.

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News

Date published: August 1, 2019

GSA News Release: New Geosphere Study Examines 2017–2018 Thomas Fire Debris Flows

GSA's news release on the recent USGS-authored publication from the Landslide Hazards Program: Inundation, flow dynamics, and damage in the 9 January 2018 Montecito debris-flow event, California, USA: Opportunities and challenges for post-wildfire risk assessment.

Date published: July 25, 2019

Big Sagebrush Recovery After Fire Inhibited by its Own Biology

Plant age drives mortality, reproductive success and population dynamics

Date published: July 8, 2019

USGS Fire Science featured in Menlo Park Lecture Series

Paul Steblein (USGS Fire Science Cordinator) gave a public lecture on June 27th. The presentation, entitled "USGS Fire Science: Understanding why wildlands burn and what can be done about it", gave an overview of the diverse facets of USGS science that are important contributors to the fire science and fire management communities. 

Publications

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Year Published: 2019

Case study: Thomas Fire

No abstract available.

Kreitler, Jason R.; East, Amy E.; Sankey, Joel B.; Tague, Christina (Naomi)
Kreitler, J., J.B. Sankey, A. East, and C. Tague. (2018)The Thomas Fire in Central Coast Regional Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-006 https://www.energy.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2019-07/Reg%20Report-%20SUM-CCCA4-2018-006%20CentralCoast.pdf

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Year Published: 2019

Measurement method has a larger impact than spatial scale for plot-scale field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs) after wildfire and prescribed fire in forests

Abstract Wildfires raise risks of floods, debris flows, major geomorphologic and sedimentologic change, and water quality and quantity shifts. A principal control on the magnitude of these changes is field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs), which dictates surface runoff generation and is a key input into numerical models. This work...

Ebel, Brian

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Year Published: 2019

Interactions between resident risk perceptions and wildfire risk mitigation: Evidence from simultaneous equations modeling

Fire science emphasizes that mitigation actions on residential property, including structural hardening and maintaining defensible space, can reduce the risk of wildfire at a home. Accordingly, a rich body of social science literature investigates the determinants of wildfire risk mitigation behaviors of residents living in fire-prone areas. Here...

Meldrum, James R.; Brenkert-Smith, Hannah; Champ, Patricia A.; Gomez, Jamie; Falk, Lilia C.; Barth, Christopher M.