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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.

News

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New federal partnership will advance predictive models of wildfire behavior

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USGS Firelight - Vol. 1 | Issue 1

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A Whole New (Fiery) World

Publications

Post-fire temporal trends in soil-physical and -hydraulic properties and simulated runoff generation: Insights from different burn severities in the 2013 Black Forest Fire, CO, USA

Burn severity influences on post-fire recovery of soil-hydraulic properties controlling runoff generation are poorly understood despite the importance for parameterizing infiltration models. We measured soil-hydraulic properties of field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs), sorptivity (S), and wetting front potential (ψf) for four years after the 2013 Black Forest Fire, Colorado, USA at six sit

Occurrence, fate, and transport of aerially applied herbicides to control invasive buffelgrass within Saguaro National Park Rincon Mountain District, Arizona, 2015–18

The spread of the invasive and fire-adapted buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) threatens desert ecosystems by competing for resources, increasing fuel loads, and creating wildfire connectivity. The Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro National Park addressed this natural resource threat with the use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). In 2010, the Rincon Mountain District initiated an aerial res

National seed strategy progress report, 2015-2020

Native plants are the true green infrastructure we rely on for healthy, resilient, and biodiverse ecosystems. They protect us against climate change and natural disasters; create habitat for wildlife, rare species, and pollinators; and are vital for carbon sequestration. Without native plants, especially their seeds, we do not have the ability to restore functional ecosystems after natural disaste

Science

Effects of Wildfire and Fire Retardants on Nutrient Transport in California Watersheds

Large wildfires have increased in size and frequency in the western United States over the past several decades. This has led to increased soil erosion and the transport of sediment containing nutrients into streams and reservoirs. Excess nutrients typically lead to the increased production of algae which can then lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen. This degrades the habitat for fish and...
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Effects of Wildfire and Fire Retardants on Nutrient Transport in California Watersheds

Large wildfires have increased in size and frequency in the western United States over the past several decades. This has led to increased soil erosion and the transport of sediment containing nutrients into streams and reservoirs. Excess nutrients typically lead to the increased production of algae which can then lead to low levels of dissolved oxygen. This degrades the habitat for fish and...
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Using Drone Imagery to Assess Impacts of the 2018 Carr Fire

USGS WERC’s Dr. Karen Thorne and her research team are using drone imagery to understand how the 2018 Carr Fire affected ecosystems and cultural resources. The study, a collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), focuses on Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California. The drone images will help the WERC researchers identify changes in topography, cultural sites, debris...
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Using Drone Imagery to Assess Impacts of the 2018 Carr Fire

USGS WERC’s Dr. Karen Thorne and her research team are using drone imagery to understand how the 2018 Carr Fire affected ecosystems and cultural resources. The study, a collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS), focuses on Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in northern California. The drone images will help the WERC researchers identify changes in topography, cultural sites, debris...
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Actual evapotranspiration, flash droughts, water deficits, reduced vegetative growth, and wildfires: the effects of seasonally water-limited conditions in a changing climate

The Southeastern U.S. experiences recurring hydrologic droughts, which can reduce water availability for human consumption and ecosystem services, leading to plant stress and reduced plant growth. This project examines relationships between drought and the water cycle in the Southeast with data from the Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW) near Atlanta, Georgia and other Southeastern sites...
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Actual evapotranspiration, flash droughts, water deficits, reduced vegetative growth, and wildfires: the effects of seasonally water-limited conditions in a changing climate

The Southeastern U.S. experiences recurring hydrologic droughts, which can reduce water availability for human consumption and ecosystem services, leading to plant stress and reduced plant growth. This project examines relationships between drought and the water cycle in the Southeast with data from the Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW) near Atlanta, Georgia and other Southeastern sites...
Learn More