Scientists Look to Big Data to Address Local Fire Problems

The case of the Bastrop County Complex illustrates the need for a new way of thinking about the issue of wildfire. In September of 2011, a year of severe drought, a summer of record-breaking heat, winds from a tropical storm, and a few sparks combined to create the fire, which burned through 34,000 acres of southeastern…  More 

A Conversation About Fire and Water

For hydrologist Dennis Hallema, a recent conference presentation in Kelowna, British Columbia, turned into an opportunity to speak about an urgent research issue in front of an even larger audience. Following his talk at the 4th International Conference on Forests and Water in a Changing Environment, Hallema (an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education…  More 

Tribal Fire Prevention Programs Work

Humans – either intentionally or accidentally — cause more than 55 percent of wildfires on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior. Federal agencies try to prevent wildfire and reduce the high costs associated with it through fire prevention activities that include burn permits, public service programs, outreach efforts, and law…  More 

Is Your Home at Risk from Wildfire?

Though fire plays an important part in the forest ecosystems of the South, wildfire presents a grave risk to homes built in or near natural areas. The good news is that all home are not equally at risk, and steps can be taken to reduce risk. Wildfire risk to homes depends on nearby land use, trees, vegetation near the home, and…  More 

Cigarettes are Causing Fewer Wildfires, but Why?

  The number of wildfires caused by cigarettes has fallen drastically. “Since 1980, smoking-caused wildfires fell by 90 percent,” says U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist Jeffrey Prestemon. “Until recently, little has been known about why, and other causes of wildfire have not experienced this level of decline.” Prestemon, project leader of the…  More 

How do Wildfires — And Efforts to Abate Them — Affect the Nation’s Water Supplies?

More than 180 million people across the United States rely on forest watersheds to store, filter, and deliver the water that flows from their taps. Unfortunately, in many parts of the country, these watershed functions face an increasing risk of severe wildfire. Prescribed burning is one treatment that can reduce forest fuels and wildfire’s threats…  More 

Research Communication–and Brevity–Earn Prize for Eastern Threat Center Scientist

“How good is the research if we can’t communicate it?” says Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center biological scientist Serra Hoagland after taking top honors at Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) 3 Minute Research Presentation Project contest. The inaugural event at NAU, where Hoagland is pursuing a PhD in forest science, challenges graduate students to explain…  More 

Learning About Climate Change Can be Fun

On May 6, students from the Schenck Job Corps Center in Pisgah, North Carolina, traveled up the mountain  from their center to test drive a new climate change exhibit at the Cradle of Forestry, the birthplace of forestry and forest conservation located in the Pisgah National Forest. Designed and installed by the U.S. Forest Service Southern…  More 

A New Crew of Young Firefighters

As you read this, members of the Davidson River Initial Attack Crew are out fighting a wildfire or helping conduct a prescribed fire to reduce fuel or restore a forest ecosystem. The team of young men from across the United States recently completed their training under a unique advanced fire management program provided by the U.S.…  More 

How Forest Fires Start: Modeling Wildfire Ignitions

Most wildfires are started – whether accidentally or intentionally – by people. Understanding where wildfires are most likely to occur and how they can be predicted has been a major focus for U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) researchers Jeffrey Prestemon and his colleagues and experts from state, other federal, and tribal land management…  More