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: September 11, 2020

Emeritus & Distinguished Alumni Profile: Jan van Wagtendonk

Jan van Wagtendonk’s nearly 40-year career as a federal scientist has shaped fire and recreation management in the iconic Yosemite National Park.

Date published: June 24, 2020

Wildfire Support from 438 Miles Above

USGS Fire Science is fundamental to understanding the causes, consequences, and benefits of wildfire and helps prevent and manage larger, catastrophic events. USGS scientists and programs provide information and develop tools that are widely used by stakeholders to make decisions before, during, and after wildfires across the nation.

Date published: December 19, 2019

Rating Fire Danger from the Ground Up

A new article in Eos highlights the outcomes of a workshop hosted in April by the International Association of Wildland Fire and partially funded by the South Central CASC, focused on using soil moisture information to predict wildfire probability.

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