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: February 14, 2019

A Comparison of Fire Potential Index Rasters

The purpose of this study is to make a quantitative comparison of Fire Potential Index (fpi) rasters created by identical processes and on coincident dates, differing only in the sensor from which the source data were obtained. 

Date published: February 4, 2019

USGS, EROS Offer Insights to National Fire Strategy Discussion

With California burning in the fall of 2018, the conversation came up yet once again.

How do we prevent monster fires with names like Camp and Woolsey from torching massive amounts of California landscape—or anywhere else, for that matter? Is it even possible to build fire resistance into the intersection of wildlands and rural developments?


Year Published: 2019

Effects of prescribed fire on San Francisco gartersnake survival and movement

The application of fire is prescribed for management of habitats for many plant and animal communities, but its effects on herpetofauna are diverse and remain poorly understood. To date no studies have examined the effects of prescribed fire on endangered San Francisco gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) populations, despite a call for...

Halstead, Brian J.; Thompson, Michelle E.; Amarello, Melissa; Smith, Jeffrey J.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Routman, Eric J.; Casazza, Michael L.

Year Published: 2019

Drivers of chaparral type conversion to herbaceous vegetation in coastal Southern California

AimIn Southern California, native woody shrublands known as chaparral support exceptional biodiversity. However, large‐scale conversion of chaparral into largely exotic herbaceous cover is a major ecological threat and serious conservation concern. Due to substantial uncertainty regarding the causes and extent of this vegetation change, we aimed...

Syphard, Alexandra D.; Brennan, Teresa J.; Keeley, Jon E.

Year Published: 2018

Insect communities in big sagebrush habitat are altered by wildfire and post‐fire restoration seeding

Natural resource managers sow grass, forb, and shrub seeds across millions of hectares of public lands in the western United States to restore sagebrush‐steppe ecosystems burned by wildfire. The effects of post‐fire vegetation treatments on insect communities in these ecosystems have not been investigated.We conducted the first investigation of...

Rohde, Ashley T.; Pilliod, David S.; Novak, Stephen J.