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Seeing red: new tools for mapping and understanding fire severity

Author(s): Rocky Mountain Research Station
Year Published: 2013

Large, severe fires are ecologically and socially important because they have lasting effects on vegetation and soils, can potentially threaten people and property, and can be costly to manage. The goals of the Fire Severity Mapping Project (FIRESEV), which covers lands in the continental western United States, are to understand where and why fires burn severely, and to give fire managers, fire ecologists, and natural resource managers tools to assess severity before, during, and after a wildfire. FIRESEV has produced a suite of tools for a wide range of fire management applications, including real-time forecasts and assessments in wildfire situations, post-wildfire rehabilitation efforts and long-term planning. The suite of five products described in this article includes three mapping tools: 1) the new Severe Fire Potential Map, 2) the Wildland Fire Assessment Tool (WFAT) modification, 3) the Integrated Fire Severity Mapping Procedure, and two conceptual tools, 4) a fire severity classification for surface fuels based on simulation modeling, and 5) a review paper that examines problems with the concept of fire severity and suggests ways to assess severity using an ecologically based approach. The development of these tools was supported by National Fire Plan and Joint Fire Science Program funding.

Citation: Rocky Mountain Research Station. 2013. Seeing red: new tools for mapping and understanding fire severity. RMRS Science You Can Use Bulletin. July/August 2013(6): 1-10.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - First Order, Fire Intensity / Burn Severity, Patch Size, Fire Regime, Fire and Landscape Mosaics
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Research Brief or Fact Sheet
NRFSN number: 11996
FRAMES RCS number: 15210
Record updated: May 23, 2018