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Interagency Monitoring Program and Monitoring Fuels Treatments

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Title: Interagency Monitoring Program and Monitoring Fuels Treatments


1
Interagency Monitoring Program and Monitoring
Fuels Treatments Large Fires in Alaska
  • RX-510 Unit III E
  • Jennifer Allen
  • Fire Ecologist, NPS Alaska Region

RX-510 Feb. 2007
2
Lesson Objectives
  • Identify benefits of developing an interagency
    monitoring program.
  • Describe how monitoring can be used to validate
    or modify treatment prescriptions.
  • Describe techniques for monitoring large wildland
    fires.

3
Alaska Fires
gt51 million acres in last 50 yrs
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6
Black Spruce Picea mariana
Deciduous - Spruce
White Spruce Picea glauca
Tussock-Shrub Tundra
7
Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System
(CFFDRS)
FFMC
DC
DMC
8
Alaska Fire Management
  • Organized fire suppression began in 1939
  • By 1959 smoke jumpers established and suppression
    activities increased.
  • 1980s logistics and practicality of fire
    suppression across the state

9
Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan
- 1998
  • Goalaccomplish land-use objectives in the most
    cost-effective manner.
  • Designated fire suppression responsibilities
  • Defines fire management options
    statewide (FMUs)

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11
Fire Suppression Agencies
12
AK Fire Management Options
13
Fire management activities
  • Suppression gt fire detection, preparedness, IMT
  • Wildland fire use - 60 of the state is in
    limited suppression. Point source protection
    cabin and allotment protection.
  • Hazardous fuels management (mechanical thinning,
    fuel breaks, sheer blading)
  • Prescribed fire (FWS, State, BLM, Military Areas,
    USFS)

14
Fire Issues in AK
  • Increased wildland urban interface
  • Climate change
  • Increased fire activity adjacent to human
    development
  • Understanding of fire effects increased fire
    activity

15
Fire Issues in AK
  • Increased wildland urban interface
  • Climate change
  • Increased fire activity adjacent to human
    development
  • Understanding of fire effects increased fire
    activity

16
II. Interagency fire monitoring
  • Objective Identify benefits of developing an
    interagency fire monitoring strategy
  • Goals of the IA monitoring in Alaska
  • Could this be applied elsewhere

17
Why an interagency monitoring plan?
  • Large scale ecological process not well
    documented
  • General lack of staffing among agencies, sharing
    of data
  • Applicable across broader spatial scales
  • Cost savings

18
How it was accomplished
  • Interagency Fire Effects Task Group under AWFCG
    1998
  • Idea of interagency monitoring discussed
  • Open meetings 2-3 times per year
  • Follow-up e-mails, surveys, small group meetings

19
Goals of the IA Monitoring
  • Provide a simple monitoring design to meet common
    needs and Alaska fuel types
  • Encourage interagency collaboration, to increase
    sample size
  • Provide protocols that could be implemented in a
    rapid response or could be expanded to meet
    additional needs

20
Protocol Development
  • Tiered approach three monitoring intensities
  • Developed objectives and variables to monitor
  • Assessed applicability of both FEAT and FireMon
    databases
  • Reviewed, revised, field tested, final review

21
FETG Plot Design
30-m
  • VEGETATION COVER - Point intercept 30-m transect
  • TREE Densities Measurements
  • DEPTH to PERMAFROST
  • BURN SEVERITY 10 Points, CBI
  • DUFF LITTER DEPTH
  • DOWN WOODY FUEL LOADING
  • SHRUB DENSITY 1-m x 30-m belt

0-m
22
Other FETG Work
Duff moisture and fire danger indices
Assessing remote sensed burn severity -dNBR
Collaborating with Fire Research
23
FIREHouse
The Northwest and Alaska Fire Research
Clearinghouse
www.fs.fed.us/pnw/fera/firehouse
Online, searchable access to
  • Project and tool descriptions, contact
    information, metadata
  • Online publications
  • AK Fire and Fuels Research ArcIMS
  • AK Fire Effects Reference Database

Funded by JFSP 2005

24
Lessons Learned
  • Improved sharing of information
  • Small work force
  • Pitfalls of using an off-the-shelf protocol
  • Simplicity of methods flexible design

25
III. Adaptive Management Denali hazard fuels
project
  • Objective
  • Describe how monitoring can be used to validate
    or modify treatment prescriptions.

26
Park Headquarters 1940 and 2003
27
Denali hazard fuels project
  • Create defensible space for infrastructure
  • Lessen the wildland fire hazards to this area
  • Reflect the Period of Historic Significance

28
Developed objectives and monitoring design
  • Met with the park FMO and fuels specialist
  • Identified objectives
  • Determine if prescription parameters were met
  • Reduce crown fire potential
  • Concerns of grass increase and duff moisture
    drying
  • Determined efficient means of measuring
    objectives.

29
Plot Data
2003 pre-treatment
  • Tree density and measurements
  • Species cover
  • Fuels loading
  • Permafrost

27 plots measured in 2003 pre-treatment 2005
post-treatment
2005 post-treatment
30
Stand Model of Denali Front Country Zone 3 Open
White Spruce Pre-Treatment
Trees per acre 750 Height to live crown 2 ft
31
Stand Model of Denali Front Country Zone 3 Open
White Spruce Post-Treatment
Trees per acre 250 Height to live crown 7 ft
32
Results
  • Prescription implementation Tree densities
    ladder fuel heights
  • Fire behavior assessment 
  • Understory changes

33
Tree Density
34
Fire Behavior Assessment
3 Crown Base Height Data Pre Treatment vs.
Post Treatment
  • Passive crown fire
  • Crown rate of spread 4.8 ch/hr
  • Rate of spread 2.3 ch/hr or 2.5 ft/minute
  • Flame length 1.8 ft
  • No crown fire initiation
  • Crown rate of spread 0 ch/hr
  • Rate of spread 4.7 ch/hr or 5.2 ft/minute
  • Flame length 2.3 ft

35
Fire Behavior graph
36
Grass in the understory
37
Yukon-Charley - Hazard fuels treatments
38
Adaptive Management Communications
  • SVS used in presentations to alleviate concerns
    that the area was going to be clear cut.
  • Posters and short interpretive paper written.
  • Presented results to FMOs and
    Fuels Specialists

39
Adaptive Management Evaluation
Presented data to FMOs and discussed results
  • Tree Density Less thinning - crown fire
    behavior was still reduced. Changes in RX less
    thinning.
  • Ladder fuel heights re-measure, if needed limb
    more
  • Grass FMOs decided to reduce deciduous tree
    removal in future thinning projects

40
IV. Monitoring large fires in AK
  • Lesson Objective
  • Describe three techniques and purposes for
    monitoring large wildland fires.

41
590,000 acres burned 1950-2005
42
Fire in Denali
  • 590,000 acres burned 1950-2005
  • Average acres per year 10,477 acres
  • 4 fires/year on average
  • Average fire size 3,024 acres

43
Multi-scale Approach
  • Landsat 7 imagery
  • dNBR burn severity
  • Videography
  • 43 Ground plots
  • 5 and 15 yr post fire

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47
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48
Modeling vegetation changes
49
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50
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51
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52
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53
Ground Plot Results
54
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55
Dominant Post-Fire Vegetation
17 of the plots
26 of the plots
17 of the plots
56
Compare lt5 yr and gt15 yr post fire vegetation and
moose browse
3 years post fire
15 years post fire
57
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58
Objective Determine moose browse availability
and utilization in early seral post-fire
vegetation
59
Moose Browse
60
Shortened fire return interval
61
Frequent burn effects
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63
Information gained from monitoring Wildland Fires
  • Landscape patterns - severity by vegetation types
  • Fire succession ? fuel types
  • Wildlife habitat impacts
  • Impacts of increased fire return intervals

64
Parting thoughts
  • Base your treatments on good ecological knowledge
  • Developing objectives
  • Make your objectives meaningful
  • Work together
  • Monitoring should address the objectives!
  • Make your data useful, get the information out
    Are we doing the right prescription?

65
Alaska Fires
Thank you, questions?
66
A2 Hadley (Most Area Burned) Single Replicate
2050
2000
1950
black spruce
white spruce
deciduous
67
Climate and Fire Regimes
gt300 yrs
100 yrs
200 yrs
Fire Return Intervals
Figure from Hu et. al. 2006 (Mitigation and
Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 11
829846)
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