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: November 29, 2018

Post-fire Sagebrush Recovery Looks to Landsat Time Series Data for Solutions

When a wildfire rampages through a sagebrush domain, restoring the landscape’s natural vegetation afterward is often a dicey proposition. But now complicate that situation with soil-moisture-robbing drought either before or after the fire. What becomes the best restoration solution then?

Date published: November 13, 2018

Post-Wildfire Playbook

New post-wildfire resource guide now available to help communities cope with flood and debris flow danger.

Date published: October 5, 2018

A Database Tool for Estimating Fuel Loadings Across a Range of Intact to Degraded Sagebrush Habitats in Southern Idaho

USGS researchers created an interactive Fuels Guide and Database, providing vegetation and fuel loading information and photographs for big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) ecological sites in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) in southern Idaho.


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.

Year Published: 2018

Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) activity areas are little changed after wind turbine-induced fires in California

Wind turbine-induced fires at a wind energy facility in California, USA, provided an opportunity to study the before and after effects of fire on a population of protected Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in the Sonoran Desert, a species and ecosystem poorly adapted to fire. We compared annual activity areas (AAs) of tortoises in...

Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Agha, Mickey; Ennen, Joshua R.; Arundel, Terence R.; Austin, Meaghan

Year Published: 2018

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.
Halstead, B. J., Thompson, M. E., Amarello, M. , Smith, J. J., Wylie, G. D., Routman, E. J. and Casazza, M. L. (2018), Effects of prescribed fire on San Francisco gartersnake survival and movement. Jour. Wild. Mgmt.. . doi:10.1002/jwmg.21585