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 Intterra National Fire Situation map tool to view current wildfires and related information.

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News

Date published: February 25, 2021

Post-wildfire Landslides Becoming More Frequent in Southern California

Southern California can now expect to see post-wildfire landslides occurring almost every year, with major events expected roughly every ten years, a new study led by U.S. Geological Survey researchers finds.

Date published: February 23, 2021

New USGS Strategy Harnesses State-of-the-Art Science to Tackle Wildfires Before, During and After the Flames

To help address growing wildfire-related challenges in America, the U.S. Geological Survey is rolling out a new Wildland Fire Science Strategy that lays out the critical needs for wildfire research over the next five years. Released today, this strategy can be used to better understand the balance between fire’s benefits and its detrimental impacts.

Date published: January 20, 2021

New Technologies and Collaboration Enhancing National Fire Management Programs

The USGS is part of a multi-agency partnership supporting new products and processes to improve the detection and monitoring of new and emerging wildfires across the U.S.

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Bioclimatic modeling of potential vegetation types as an alternative to species distribution models for projecting plant species shifts under changing climates

Land managers need new tools for planning novel futures due to climate change. Species distribution modeling (SDM) has been used extensively to predict future distributions of species under different climates, but their map products are often too coarse for fine-scale operational use. In this study we developed a flexible, efficient, and robust...

Keane, Robert; Holsinger, Lisa M.; Loehman, Rachel A.

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Year Published: 2020

Management of remnant tallgrass prairie by grazing or fire: Effects on plant communities and soil properties

Tallgrass prairie is a disturbance‐dependent ecosystem that has suffered steep declines in the midwestern United States. The necessity of disturbance, typically fire or grazing, presents challenges to managers who must apply them on increasingly small and fragmented parcels. The goal of this study was to compare effects of management using cattle...

Larson, Diane L.; Hernández, Daniel L.; Larson, Jennifer L.; Leone, Julia B.; Pennarola, Nora P.

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Year Published: 2020

Landslides after wildfire: Initiation, magnitude, and mobility

In the semiarid Southwestern USA, wildfires are commonly followed by runoff-generated debris flows because wildfires remove vegetation and ground cover, which reduces soil infiltration capacity and increases soil erodibility. At a study site in Southern California, we initially observed runoff-generated debris flows in the first year following...

Rengers, Francis K.; McGuire, Luke; Oakley, Nina S.; Kean, Jason W.; Staley, Dennis M.; Tang, Hui