Wildfires over the last couple decades have increased in size and intensity and the fire season has lengthened, resulting in increased wildfire suppression costs and greater risk to human health and safety. The large, severe fires have also had pronounced effects on water quality and quantity, air quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and many other ecosystem services, even the ability of the ecosystem to recover post-fire. Wildland fire also plays an important beneficial role to reduce future wildfire risk and improve habitat for fire adapted species. The U.S. Geological Survey produces wildland fire science, data, and tools that are essential to decision making before, during, and after wildfires, and are used by fire and land management agencies, states and tribes, landowners, and communities across the U.S. Areas of emphasis for fire science work at USGS include: Effects of wildfire and prescribed fire on plants, wildlife and ecosystems; wildland fire history and management, including post-fire restoration and recovery, especially on lands managed by the Department of the Interior (DOI); characterize risk of post-fire flooding, sedimentation, debris flow, smoke, and toxic fire ash; and, remote sensing and geospatial data, tools and products to support decision making by fire and land managers.

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