Firefighting Class of 2018

A few hundred feet from the Davidson River in North Carolina, 20 young people sit in a classroom. It’s no ordinary class – it’s the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew in the making. The students are in the advanced wildfire management program at Schenck Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, operated by the USDA Forest Service.…  More 

The State of the Nation’s Forests

Forests are constantly changing with weather, disturbance, and conversion to other land uses, but how do we know if year-to-year changes are just a one-off or part of a larger shift? Annual summaries of forest health are key to our understanding, say the editors and authors that produced Forest Health Monitoring: National Status, Trends, and…  More 

Reptiles and Amphibians Unharmed by Prescribed Fires in Early Growing Season

Amphibians and reptiles tend to be most active during the spring and summer, when it’s warmer. A recent USDA Forest Service study compared how herpetofauna respond to prescribed fires conducted during the growing season – when vegetation is actively growing – versus those in dormant season months. “Historically, prescribed burning has been limited to the…  More 

Megafires, Wildland Fires, and Prescribed Burns

Healthy forests are important for clean and abundant water supplies. A recent USDA Forest Service study examined how wildland fires, including megafires, and prescribed burns affect river flow. The study is the first nationwide look at fire impacts on surface freshwater resources. Led by Dennis Hallema, research hydrologist and ORISE fellow, the research team analyzed…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Prescribed Fire and Snags in Shortleaf Pine Woodlands

“I’ve spent years working in these shortleaf pine woodlands and always wondered about the availability of snags, especially given their importance to bats,” says U.S. Forest Service research wildlife biologist Roger W. Perry. Perry is talking about 250,000 acres on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Efforts to restore shortleaf pine woodlands have…  More 

Drier Weather, Drier Fuels

Dry weather – and huge wildfires – are common. “Climate change would modify fuel moisture and wildland fires dramatically across the United States,” says Yongqiang Liu. Liu is a U.S. Forest Service research meteorologist who recently investigated climate impacts on fuel moisture. His study was published in the journal Ecohydrology. Weather quickly influences fuel moisture…  More 

Exotic Plants May Dominate After a Fire, But Not for Long

Land managers expect that exotic invasive plants will quickly move in following a disturbance, especially after a fire. Though exotics initially might have an edge over native plants on burned ground, this may not always be so as time goes on, according to a U.S. Forest Service study. Qinfeng Guo, a research ecologist with the…  More 

Fire Frequency & Hardwood Regeneration

The mighty oak is a critical component of southern forests—for wildlife habitat, acorn production, and hardwood timber—but forests are changing, and its future is uncertain. A long-running U.S. Forest Service experiment studied the use of prescribed fire to control competition from shade-tolerant tree species like red maple, American beech, and blackgum. The study area, located on…  More 

Spring Break Fire Training

Setting a forest on fire is not what you would call a typical a spring break activity. Sixteen graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Georgia (UGA) did just that during a course in wildland fire science at Savannah River Ecology Lab at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The course, Wildland Fire,…  More