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Project ID: 16-1-05-24

Year: 2016

Date Started: 08/15/2016

Ending Date:  12/31/2019

Title: Landscape Evaluations and Prescriptions for Post-Fire Landscapes

Project Proposal Abstract: Wildfires in the western US are modifying the structure and composition of forests at rates that far exceed mechanical and prescribed fire treatments. Despite the huge number of acres being treated by wildfires each year, our scientific understanding and social license regarding how to both critically assess and manage post fire landscapes to maximize resilience to future disturbances is limited. Millions of burned acres are thus being left to recover naturally with little landscape level analysis of the ecosystem structure and function that is likely to result. In North Central Washington, 2014 and 2015 have been record setting wildfire years, burning hundreds of thousands of acres on the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Colville National Forests (OWNF and CNF). These fires burned through a wide range of treated and untreated conditions at a range of severities, including re-burning past wildfires that received a range of post-fire management activities. These large fire years have presented a huge challenge to managers and collaborative stakeholder groups in terms of how to assess the need for post fire management actions. Relatively little post fire management has been proposed or implemented. El Nino is forecasted to bring another big fire year in 2016. This project will apply the landscape evaluation and prescription concepts to analyze, quantify, and forecast the work of past and future wildfires, using forests of north central Washington State as a model system. We will address both ecological and management questions by: - Investigating how wildfires are shaping the temporal and spatial patterns of vegetation and fuels as influenced by combinations of annual weather, local climate, topography, prior fire, and prior management patterns. - Assessing how forests have recovered from previous fires, with special focus on the effects of prior management. - Building tools to assist managers and stakeholder groups to assess how future fires may affect forest structure and determine what combinations of post-fire management and green tree treatments will best enhance future forest resilience. - Showing which landscape assessment tools allow the best understanding of patterns of pre- and post-fire forest structure by comparing several tools across our study area with a particular focus on understanding and demonstrating the use of airborne LiDAR data. The results of this project will assist forest and fuel managers in better understanding the effects of large wildfires on landscape level conditions and facilitate science driven approaches to post-fire management.

Principal Investigator: Andrew J. Larson

Agency/Organization: University of Montana

Branch or Dept: College of Forestry & Conservation

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Vi T. Ta

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Phillip A. Won

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Courtney A. Cansler

University of Washington

School of Forest Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

Derek J. Churchill

University of Washington

School of Forest Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

Van R. Kane

University of Washington

School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Co-Principal Investigator

James A. Lutz

Utah State University

Department of Wildland Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

Nicholas A. Povak

Forest Service

PSW-Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry


Richy J. Harrod

Forest Service

Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests

Funding Cooperator

Paul F. Hessburg

Forest Service

PNW-Forestry Sciences Lab-Wenatchee

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Northern Rockies










Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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