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Project ID: 11-S-3-2

Year: 2012

Date Started: 11/14/2011

Ending Date:  09/30/2019

Title: Northern Rockies Fire Science Network (NRFSN)

Project Proposal Abstract: The Northern Rocky Mountain region is one of the most fire prone regions in the United States. National fire policy has been shaped by large fires in this region, including those in 1910, 1988 and 2000. With models predicting continued increases in fire size and frequency, scientist-manager communication about research needs and relevant products will be critical to effective, science-informed decision making and fire management. The Northern Rockies Fire Science Network (NRFSN) needs assessment focused on managers of forested ecosystems in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. We used six face-to-face focus groups and a survey to assess obstacles to using research, the frequency and usefulness of various methods of accessing research, preferred topics, and priority NRFSN activities. Users requested a one-stop searchable website, research briefs, and synthesis of fire research. They also emphasized the utility of face-to-face workshops and fieldtrips but expressed concerns about funding to travel to these. Planned activities are: 1) science synthesis and delivery (via website, research briefs, and syntheses), 2) relationship building (via workshops and fieldtrips), 3) annual identification of research needs, and 4) ongoing NRFSN needs assessment (via focus groups). Based on end user input, the website will be easy to use, provide a web clearinghouse for NRFSN products, and consolidate scientific information from existing websites and web tools. Notably, syntheses will be developed with upfront input from managers to clarify management issues (obtained via webconferences, interviews, fieldtrips) and delivered (via webconferences, field trips) to engage managers in a discussion of practical application of the synthesis and identify remaining gaps. Relationship building activities consist of hosting local fieldtrips, annual workshops, and cultivation of a Network of Fire Science Champions to serve as information dissemination nodes across the region. We will conduct focus groups in additional locations because those already conducted were successful at relationship building. Federal agency end-users include USFS, NPS, BLM, FWS and BIA managers. Tribal, state, municipal, non-governmental organizations and the public will also benefit from NRFSN activities. Co-I Leighton is well connected with tribes in the region and throughout the country, allowing the Northern Rockies consortium to be a leader in engaging tribes in consortium activities. Our End-User Advisory Board will provide suggestions to improve the effectiveness of planned activities, provide a field perspective on program effectiveness, and inform end users of consortium activities and products. Our Science Application Advisory Board (SAAB) collectively represents extensive experience leading and implementing science application programs. The SAAB will convey knowledge about the activities of other science delivery partnerships and look for opportunities for synergy. The SAAB will also advise the consortium development team on strategic direction, partnership opportunities, and potential activities. NRFSN effectiveness will be evaluated via feedback from the two advisory boards, and by using a logic model approach that clearly identifies inputs, outputs, and desired outcomes. With this approach, we will track numbers of activities, end users reached, and web use; however, a deeper understanding of whether we are accomplishing objectives will come from an evaluation of short- and medium-term outcomes (for example, changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior). The partners in this proposal (RMRS, NPS, UI, UM, MSU, SKC) are eager to strengthen the regions network of managers and scientists. In developing the NRFSN, we will strive to become a highly-visible, relevant, go-to resource providing reliable, timely information to meet the needs of managers and scientists involved in fire and fuels management of forests in the Northern Rockies.

Principal Investigator: Vita X. Wright

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Human Factors & Risk Management RD&A

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Mitchell R. Burgard

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Richard G Everett

Salish Kootenai College

Department of Natural Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

Corey L. Gucker

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

David B. McWethy

Montana State University

Department of Earth Sciences

Co-Principal Investigator

Penny Morgan

University of Idaho

Department of Forest Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

James P. Riddering

University of Montana

National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis


Megan P. Keville

University of Montana

College of Forestry & Conservation


Linda S. Mutch

NPS-National Park Service

Sierra Nevada Network

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin

Northern Rockies


Southern Rockies






Interior West


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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