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Geography: Intermountain Region (R4)

Birds & Burns: Can Prescribed Fires Limit Wildfire Severity While Maintaining Fire’s Ecological Importance to Bird Species?

Documents and Media Posted on: May 17, 2022
An RMRS study confirmed that the prescribed fires limited wildfire burn severity, but the reduction in burn severity didn’t change patterns of bird responses to wildfire. Species that normally move into burned areas and those that move away from burned areas were the same whether or not the site was treated with prescribed fire.  Document Type: Other Documents

The rundown on native western forbs

Science Spotlights Posted on: May 06, 2022
Over the last 20 years, researchers and practitioners have greatly increased our knowledge of native western forbs, their biology, ecology, and use in restoration. Now there is an online book that synthesizes this research and practical experience

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Why fires are climbing higher than ever before due to increased western aridity

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 28, 2022
Fires are burning higher and broader. Increases in burned area and altogether larger fire occurrences have been noted throughout the past half-century within western regions of the United States. The key word in all of this: higher. Recent collaborative research by Rocky Mountain Research Station, McGill University, University of California, and Boise State University focuses on the elevational distribution amongst forest fires in mountainous areas of the western United States—showing unique and unprecedented burned forest rates in areas above 2,500 m (8,200 ft) from 1984 to 2017.​​

Science Supporting the Wildfire Crisis Strategy

Pages Posted on: April 22, 2022
The Woolsey Fire seen from Topanga, California.</body></html>

Examining extreme single-day fire spread events

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 11, 2022
Wildfire activity in recent years is notable not only for an expansion of total area burned but also for large, single-day fire spread events that pose challenges to ecological systems and human communities. In this study, we evaluated the relationships between extreme single-day fire spread events, annual area burned, and fire season climate, while also predicting changes under future warming. 

What’s been going on in Nevada’s Forests?

Science Spotlights Posted on: April 04, 2022
The report includes descriptive highlights and tables of area, numbers of trees, biomass, volume, growth, and mortality on forested lands. Also included are analyses on wildlife habitat and a case study that uses the Forest Vegetation Simulator tool to project possible future conditions of the Pinyon-juniper woodlands that dominate Nevada’s forested landscape. 

New insights into cross-boundary wildfires

Science Spotlights Posted on: March 25, 2022
Wildfires do not respect ownership or management boundaries, and those that move across them are called “cross-boundary” fires. This study provides evidence that challenges the common narrative that most destructive fires spread from USFS-managed wildlands to communities. Rather, nearly three-quarters of cross-boundary ignitions originated on private lands and were human-caused. Overall area burned in cross-boundary fires has increased over the last three decades.

Idaho westslope cutthroat trout – restoration through science-based collaboration

Science Spotlights Posted on: February 15, 2022
Historically, Idaho westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) were extremely abundant and widely distributed. Despite conservation measures since 1899, many WCT populations declined and by the 1960s, populations in several major drainages were on the brink of collapse. In response, fisheries researchers began investigating WCT populations and worked with managers to develop evidence-based regulations and habitat restoration alternatives that rebuilt populations. This sustained and successful collaborative effort to restore Idaho WCT offers insights to assist fish recovery efforts elsewhere.

Is This Flight Necessary? A New Framework for Fire Aviation Decision Support That Improves Efficiency Through Analytics

Documents and Media Posted on: February 09, 2022
To improve strategic risk management of firefighting aircraft, Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) ecologist Crystal Stonesifer and colleagues have recently developed and published a decision support system called the Aviation Use Summary (AUS). The AUS provides a shared understanding for firefighters, fire managers, and fire leadership through near real-time automated mapping of aircraft actions (such as retardant drops) and a structured, repeatable check-in and planning process. Document Type: Other Documents

How a Forest Disappears: Conversion of Forest to Nonforest Vegetation Following Wildfire

Documents and Media Posted on: January 26, 2022
Scientists are seeing an increase in cases where forest resilience is pushed beyond a breaking point. Within the last few decades, wildfires in the western United States have increasingly burned so severely that some forests are unlikely to return to their prefire state and may convert to different forest types or even to nonforested systems like grassland or shrubland. Document Type: Other Documents