Fire can be dangerous, but it is also an essential process of nature. Many ecosystems can tolerate fire, and some require it. Some of the South’s most iconic landscapes, such as longleaf pine forests, depend on fire. Fire organizes ecosystems, sorting out the species that tolerate it from those that cannot.
As the climate warms, wildfires are becoming bigger, hotter, more costly, and more dangerous. At the Southern Research Station, we are exploring this issue, as well as one of the primary ways of mitigating it: prescribed fire. Prescribed fires are a key practice for reducing hazardous fuels. In some areas, prescribed fires are also an important part of ecosystem restoration and management.
We are developing tools for mitigating wildfire risk and managing prescribed fire safely. For example, QUIC-Fire is a fast 3D simulation tool managers can use for planning prescribed fires. We are also finding that in some areas, drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, can be used to ignite prescribed fires.
- Science Shorts
- Cathryn H. Greenberg, Christopher E. Moorman, Katherine J. Elliott, Katherine Martin, Mark Hopey, Peter V Caldwell. 2023. Breeding bird abundance and species diversity greatest in high-severity wildfire patches in central hardwood forests
- Matthew J. Reilly, Steven P. Norman, Joseph J. O'Brien, E. Louise. Loudermilk. 2022. Drivers and ecological impacts of a wildfire outbreak in the southern Appalachian Mountains after decades of fire exclusion
- E. Louise Loudermilk, Joseph J. O'Brien, Scott L. Goodrick, Rodman R. Linn, Nicholas S. Skowronski, J. Kevin. Hiers. 2022. Vegetation’s influence on fire behavior goes beyond just being fuel
- Steven A. Flanagan, J. Kevin Hiers, Mac A. Callaham, Scott Goodrick, Joseph J. O’Brien, Gregory Starr, Susanne Wiesner, Kier D. Klepzig, E. Louise. Loudermilk. 2021. A model comparison of fire return interval impacts on carbon and species dynamics in a southeastern U.S. pineland
- Aoxing Zhang, Yongqiang Liu, Scott Goodrick, Marcus Williams. 2022. Duff burning from wildfires in a moist region: different impacts on PM2.5 and ozone
- James M. Vose, David L. Peterson, Christopher J. Fettig, Jessica E. Halofsky, J. Kevin. Hiers, Robert E. Keane, Rachel Loehman, Michael C. Stambaugh. 2021. Fire and forests in the 21st Century: Managing resilience under changing climates and fire regimes in USA forests
- R.R. Linn, S.L. Goodrick, S. Brambilla, M.J. Brown, R.S. Middleton, J.J. O'Brien, J.K. Hiers. 2020. QUIC-fire: A fast-running simulation tool for prescribed fire planning