Project


Title

Wildland Fire Science Delivery and Outreach in Alaska
Principal Investigator(s):
Co-Principal Investigator(s):
Cooperator(s):
  • Kato Howard
    Bureau of Land Management, Alaska Fire Service
Completion Date: June 1, 2010

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • AFSC - Alaska Fire Science Consortium
  • fire science
  • information sharing
  • land managers
  • science delivery
Region(s):
JFSP Project Number(s):
09-S-04-7
09-4-1-8
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 5, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 14484

Description

We propose a fire science delivery and outreach consortium to encompass the state of Alaska that will engage scientists at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, BLM Alaska Fire Service, the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, two committees of the Alaska Wildland Fire Coordination Group - the Fire Research & Applications Committee and the Wildland Fire Education & Prevention Committee, and FRAMES. Alaska is a geographically and biophysically distinct region. Wildfire is the dominant driver of ecosystem change and the structure and function of boreal forest and tundra and their associated fire regimes are fundamentally different than most fire-prone ecosystems in the United States. Fire suppression and management strategies are unique and more akin to those in Canada. Existing outreach efforts are largely donated by various entities and lack consistent coordination, dedicated funding and evaluative processes. A formalized consortium is needed to: 1) coordinate science delivery efforts; 2) create an outreach mechanism for communication between fire scientists and diverse fire and land managers; 3) provide a clearing house for fire science information; and 4) work with fire and land managers in an on-going forum to ensure science delivery and outreach mechanisms are practical and readily implemented in the field. Global climate models agree the effects of climate warming will occur first and most severely at high latitudes. Fire in Alaska is tightly linked to climate and the average area burned per year is projected to double by the middle of this century. Therefore, with the coupled trajectories of future climate and demographics, direct, near-term threats to life and property from wildfire are expected to increase. Enhanced science delivery and outreach to state, federal, local and tribal entities will inform budget allocations for pre-suppression activities, identify research need and priorities and emergency management planning and decision-making. Intended beneficiaries are all state and federal land and fire managers in Alaska including: Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, BIA, BLM - Alaska Fire Service, Municipality of Anchorage Fire Department, NPS, Regional Native Non-profit Organizations, USFWS and USFS. The goals of the Alaska Fire Science Consortium are to 1) communicate the results of existing and on-going northern latitude and boreal forest fire science to federal and state land and fire managers, 2) communicate the needs of fire managers to the scientific community, and 3) optimize the language used and the process of fire science delivery so that the information is practical and readily implemented in the field. Planned Consortium activities are to: conduct an annual, in-person Alaska-wide workshop for fire science delivery in conjunction with the Fall Fire Review, create one-page fact sheets and a periodic newsletter summarizing the results and application of fire science research, conduct annual field workshops and demonstrations at fuels treatment and other research sites, institute a state-wide fire science teleconference/webinar series, fund an Alaska wildfire coordinator position, and coordinate existing fire science delivery products. We will evaluate program effectiveness by measuring the number of end-user contacts, the diversity of organizations and institutions represented in end-user contacts, and through surveys evaluating the process and effectiveness of workshops and webinars. The Consortium will be governed by a Steering Committee with five voting members: two representing fire management and suppression community, two fire scientists, and one non-affiliated member. The core working group, lead by the consortium coordinator, will take direction from the Steering Committee and be comprised of representatives from end-user groups including BLM AFS, BLM Lands, NPS and USFWS.

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