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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thank You 2016 Mentees

The Wildland Fire Management RD&A hosted three mentees for two week assignments during the summer of 2016. These individuals played a critical in helping WFM RD&A to support incident's use of WFDSS, fire modeling, and decision support. The following individuals provided exceptional support to the field.

Casey Teske
NPS Grand Canyon National Park

Casey provided large fire decision support to the Forest Service in the Rocky Mountain GACC. This includes advising on decision content, seasonal fuels and weather condition assessments, and fire behavior analysis. Casey also participated in daily morning briefings for the regional FAM staff and weekly briefings to the Regional Forester and AD’s. These briefings required Casey to gather and compile fire situation information as well as weather and outlook information and present this information to the regional Fire Planner and to the groups themselves. In addition to support at the regional level Casey also provided in-depth support to several incidents. Incident support included season end date analysis, seasonal assessments and fire behavior and growth analysis.

Daron Reynolds
USFS Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests

Daron provided WFDSS decision support to Region 2. Including advising units on decision content in WFDSS on emerging incidents as well as providing a critique and advice on decision content after the fact to improve future decisions. Daron also ran a few fire behavior analyses in support of emerging incidents as well as providing advice on existing analysis and how to improve those in the future.

As part of providing support to the Rocky Mountain Region Daron provided morning situational briefings to the regional FAM staff and weekly briefings to the Regional Forester and AD’s. These briefings required Daron to gather and compile fire situation information as well as weather and outlook information and present this information to the groups using graphics. Daron developed a spreadsheet with formulas to allow him to enter each day’s data and the sheet would calculate change from the previous day. Staff was most interested in trends. In addition to these other duties Daron also provided some WFDSS overview training to several people.

Sean McEldery
BLM Southern Nevada District Office

During Sean’s mentee tour he worked as a GSAN on a fire assignment to support fires in Region 2. Sean assisted the Pike San Isabel NF and USFS Regional Office in Denver, CO with analysis, decision support, presentations and documentation for the Hayden Pass, Beaver Creek, Arden, White Peak, and Lava Mountain Fires. Sean maintained a positive attitude throughout and was always eager and willing to take on any task assigned. He was adaptable with each situation and always able to produce quality products in a timely fashion. His wealth of knowledge with T & E, NEPA, GIS, along with persistence allowed him to organize and provide key information needed in developing incident decisions, long term products, fire behavior modeling and spatial fire planning. Sean also did an excellent job documenting, making recommendations, and assisting with after action review information for the region.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the mentees!

~WFM RD&A Staff

Thursday, July 28, 2016

S-495 Nomination deadline is October 7!

S-495 Geospatial Fire Analysis, Interpretation, and Application: Nomination deadline is October 7!

If you are interested in becoming a Long Term Analyst (LTAN), don't miss the 2016-17 offering of S-495, taught once every 2 years. S-495 covers the fundamentals of fire behavior modeling systems, including limitations, assumptions; running the modeling systems; and interpreting outputs for decision-makers. Nominations (via Google Form) are due OCTOBER 7, 2016--EARLIER than many other courses since the online class begins in November 2016. The final unit is taught at NAFRI in April 2017. For details, please go to:
If you have questions, contact the Course Coordinator, Gary Luce at: galuce at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Collaborative Efforts to Advance Wildfire Risk Assessment Applications - FSim Workshop

On January 20th, a small group of risk assessment modelers from the RMRS, PNW, Enterprise Teams, Fire Modeling Institute, Pyrologix, and the Wildland Fire Management RDA met at the Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT to discuss calibrating FSim, the Large Fire Spread Simulator. The objective was to share methods of wildfire risk assessments spanning landscape to national levels. Outcomes of the workshop included best practices and workflows to better define FSim’s capacity, strengths and weaknesses in assisting with wildfire risk assessments. The model developer, Mark Finney, was present to provide a background of the initial FSim application and early development. The workshop was attended in person and virtually by 20 people and facilitated by Karin Riley of the Human Dimensions Group and Erin Noonan-Wright of the WFMRDA.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Agency Administrator WFDSS Refreshers

Agency Administrator Refreshers Scheduled
For The
Wildland Fire Decision Support System
Utilize the links below to register for one of two WFDSS webinars being offered for Agency Administrators.  The short webinars will each have a different emphasis.
March 24th – General Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher
·         Overview of what Agency Administrators should know about WFDSS.
·         Discuss 2015 Incident Objectives and Incident Requirements review findings.
·         Review and highlight recent WFDSS changes important to Agency Administrators.
·         Discuss decision support tools and their use in decision making.
·         Discuss WFDSS spatial fire planning.
April 20th – Decision Making in WFDSS for Agency Administrators
·         Define the Agency Administrator role in decision making and documentation.
·         Identify areas an Agency Administrator should focus on in WFDSS.
·         Discuss the Risk and Complexity Analysis in WFDSS and what it tells you.
·         Review decision tools and how they can inform decisions.
These refreshers will be beneficial to Agency Administrators or acting Agency Administrators. Participation is encouraged for both sessions.  The webinars will be recorded and hosted on the Line Officer Resources site
Please forward this announcement to anyone you feel would benefit from these presentations.  If you have questions contact Lisa Elenz at 208-387-5658.
Thanks –
Wildland Fire Management Research, Development, & Application program

General Agency Administrator WFDSS Refresher
Decision Making in WFDSS for the Agency Administrator

Mobile Tech. Group Seeks Feedback

We want to hear your thoughts and needs for mobile technologies in fire and aviation management. Your insights improve our situational awareness and allow us to determine requirements we can evaluate for the benefit of the entire fire and aviation management community.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

WFDSS Deep Dive Webinars

Join Us for one of our 
WFDSS Data Management Webinars!
February 25th at 13:00 Mountain Time
March 3rd at 10:00 Mountain Time

Register for one of the two webinars at the following location:

* You will have to choose the time slot that works best for you from the dropdown at the top of the registration screen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Southern Fire Exchange - Free Smoke Webinar

Establishing a National Methodology for Operational Mixing Height Determination
A free webinar from the Southern Fire Exchange 
Thursday, December 3, 2015. 1:00-2:30 PM ET

Presentations led by:

Matthew Fearon, Desert Research Institute

Robyn Heffernan, National Weather Service
Mixing Height is important for assessing smoke dispersion for prescribed fires and wildfires. This webinar will review and explain the strengths and weaknesses of several tested methods for determining mixing heights. The webinar will include discussion of the innovative Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE) method that may provide critical atmospheric information for predicting Dispersion. TKE represents the most robust method for determining Mixing Height while the Stull Method represents an alternative approach that may be more operationally feasible. The webinar will discuss both approaches for determining Mixing Height. In addition, National Weather Service programs for determining Mixing Height will also be described.

Registration required! 
Or scan the QR Code: 

Monday, November 2, 2015

IFTDSS Workshops at AFE Conference

WFM RD&A Staff will be holding 2 IFTDSS Workshops at the Association of Fire Ecology's 6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress in San Antonio Texas on November 16, 2015. See the description of the workshop below and use the AFE Website to register to attend one of these workshops.

IFTDSS – Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System—1/2 day

This workshop entails basic training, demonstration and discussion regarding IFTDSS – The Interagency Fuels Treatment Decision Support System. IFTDSS is a web-based software and data integration framework that organizes previously existing fire and fuels software applications to make fuels treatment planning and analysis more efficient and effective. IFTDSS provides a way for users to learn one interface, access a variety of data and models all in one place, and pass data (inputs and outputs) easily between models. The session will include hands on utilization of existing workflows in the application including burn plan preparation (using the 2014 Interagency Burn Plan Template), Hazard Analysis, and Risk Analysis. IFTDSS utilizes several well-known existing tools to calculate fire behavior, fire containment, fire effects, probability of ignition, fuel consumption, and fuel characterization. This workshop is appropriate for fire practitioners and managers that participate in burn plan preparation, fire hazard analysis, and risk assessments.
To get more information and register for one of these workshops visit -

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fire Behavior Webinar/Workshop coming soon

Please register for Sharing Fire Behavior Practices & Lessons Learned Webinar on Nov 16, 2015 2:00 PM EST1:00 PM CST12:00 PM MST11:00 AM PST10:00 AM AKST at:

Target Audience: Fire Behavior Specialists including Fire Behavior Analysts, Long-term Analysts, Geo-spatial Analysts and fire behavior Technical Specialists

As the fire behavior community aspires to promote best practices among a range of fire behavior experience, this webinar strives to share and record dialogue regarding lessons learned from fire behavior prediction on 2015 wildfire incidents. Every fire season there are parts of the country that receive a lot of fire activity. Fire-fighting resources are assigned and consequently numerous fire behavior specialists begin focusing on these areas to ensure fire-fighter safety and to develop short-, mid-, and long- term fire behavior simulations to support these efforts and management decisions. An incredible amount of knowledge is gained and shared during these short periods of intense focus; yet often these fire behavior practices and lessons learned are recorded, stored, and not shared beyond the incident.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Those of you attending the AFE conference in San Antonio TX, room location will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WFM RD&A Work Highlighted in The Green Line

The Washington Office of Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management recently published a Special Edition of their Green Line newsletter and it highlighted some of the work we are doing here in the WFM RD&A. We would like to share these stories with you along with a copy of the Newsletter itself. Hats off to Tim, Andrew, and Ben for the great work on these projects!

You can view a copy of the full newsletter here

For the past two fire seasons Wildland Fire Management RD&A (WFM RD&A) staff have been mining tweets about wildfires from Twitter's enormous pool of data with the goal of developing an early warning system for new and emerging wildfires. Utilizing the existing structure and concept of the Threat News Explorer, Ben Butler has been working with Kingbird Software to build a web app called TwitterFire to support this concept. Every 15 minutes TwitterFire relies on a custom built search algorithm to examine an average of 5,250,00 tweets and narrow the data set down to only those likely to be talking about a wildfire in the United States. The tweets are then mapped using Yahoo's Placemaker API and used to drive a notification system which sends emails and/or text messages to registered users when a threshold is met for a specific geographic location. The concept relies on the millions of Twitter users to spot wildfires and tweet about them- and so far it is working. The science of Social Media Data Mining is growing rapidly, and our ability to extract meaningful value from Social Media posts has improved greatly over the course of this project. The TwitterFire Web App from within the Threat News Explorer at - .

Structure Protection Assessment

WFM RD&A staff members Andrew Bailey, Ben Butler and Tim Sexton are utilizing data from R6 to assess effectiveness of fire suppression in preventing structure loss. Post-fire reviews were conducted by using Cadastral and Structure Address data entered in to the WFDSS values- at-risk component to compare number of structures threatened to known losses. Inter-governmental partnerships are yielding improvements jn data quality, which may assist managers in the future for ICS209 reporting, developing success stories for incidents, and evaluating decisions.