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September 2020: Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS); Improvements to Landsat image processing; You asked, LANDFIRE answered
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LANDFIRE is Evolving

Based on user feedback, the LANDFIRE Program is exploring options to provide annual product updates. To meet that need, LANDFIRE will be in a transition phase so users should be aware that there will be product changes over the next few update cycles as processes evolve. Providing your landscape disturbances (natural and human-caused) to LANDFIRE will be even more important in the future than the past, to be submitted by November 30th of each year. If you will submit your landscape changes directly to the LANDFIRE Program or data bases/sources we regularly utilize (FACTS, NFPORS, etc.), our commitment will be to track and incorporate those changes into LANDFIRE products more quickly than the past, and when update processes are fully tested and implemented, within a year of submission. We will provide details on what to expect in the next update cycle as they become available.

Picture: Howard B. Cheek, TNC. Female Ruby-throated hummingbird. Kempner, Texas.

Improvements to Landsat Image Processing describes how image compositing and tiling techniques have provided several advantages with LF 2016 Remap products over previous LF versions, such as improved ability to produce data sets free of clouds, shadows, seamlines, boundary lines, and gaps, as well as increased automation, and added flexibility. 
satellite imagery from space of CA wildfires

LANDFIRE data is hard at work behind the scenes of
critical firefighting efforts in the U.S.

At the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS), LANDFIRE landscape files (fuel model, aspect, slope, elevation, canopy cover, canopy bulk density, canopy base height) provide the GIS data needed to run all the fire behavior models. This functionality is used extensively in WFDSS by Long term analysts (LTANs) and Fire Behavior Analysts (FBANs) to support short, mid, and long term fire prediction needs. LANDFIRE data is also used as a background data layer for users to select locations on a situation map to get an idea of the elevation, aspect, fuel model, etc. around the fire of interest. 

From 2010 to 6/11/2018, WFDSS had approximately 45,000 analyses implemented in WFDSS production that used LANDFIRE landscapes to run fire behavior analyses. WFDSS uses Basic, Fire Spread Probability, near-term, and short-term fire behavior projections in these analyses. 
 
Currently WFDSS provides users access to LANDFIRE versions (LF2010, LF2012, LF2014). There are plans to integrate LANDFIRE 2016 by November 2020. WFDSS provides access to LANDFIRE landscape data for Alaska, Hawaii, and the continental U.S. 

 
Wildfire Risk to Communities: New Features & Data 
October 14, 2020 | 12 pm (MT)
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Speakers: Kelly Pohl, Communications & Policy Director, Headwaters Economics, Greg Dillon, Spatial Fire Analyst, U.S. Forest Service, Frank Fay, Applied Fire Ecologist, U.S. Forest Service & Business Lead, LANDFIRE, Jim Menakis, Fire Ecologist, U.S. Forest Service

Wildfire Risk to Communities is a national tool with interactive maps, charts, and resources to help every community in the U.S. understand, explore, and reduce wildfire risk. In the fall of 2020, the website was updated with new data and features, including new map views and GIS data available for download. During this webinar, see a demonstration of the Wildfire Risk to Communities and learn about data updates.  Wildfire Risk to Communities was created by the USDA Forest Service under the direction of Congress and builds on nationwide LANDFIRE data.
 
Webinar sponsors: LANDFIRE, The Nature Conservancy, Headwaters Economics
 

LANDFIRE Remap in the Northeastern U.S.
October 21, 2020 | 1 pm (ET)
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Speakers: Randy Swaty, TNC Ecologist, Jim Smith, TNC LANDFIRE  Program Lead, Inga La Puma, Technical Lead, LANDFIRE

The Nature Conservancy LANDFIRE team members, Randy Swaty and Jim Smith and Fire Scientist, Inga La Puma will review the LANDFIRE Remap product suite to describe what is new, what has remained the same, and how the program responded to feedback from NE users. The speakers will browse the vegetation data sets in different parts of the region to demonstrate the current product suite.

 
Webinar sponsors: North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange, LANDFIRE, The Nature Conservancy
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Question: LF is vast and I am confused by something. In the data products table for Remap, there are two US versions listed for nine products (US19 and US20). I can tell from the map that there are differences. What is the cause of the difference?

Answer: US19 and US20 refer to Capable Fuels, an enhancement to LF Remap fuels products in disturbed areas. US19 means 2019 fuels capability and US20 means 2020 fuels capability for data in CONUS. | Read the full explanation.
Dillon, Gregory K.; Panunto, M.H., Davis, B., Morgan, P., Birch, D.S., Jolly, W.M. 2020. Development of a Severe Fire Potential map for the contiguous United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRSGTR - 415. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 107 p.

It can be useful to consider the degree of wildfire burn severity on the landscape when evaluating the ecological footprint of a wildfire. Understanding burn severity is important to scientists and managers interested in generating and executing successful postfire restoration strategies. Burn severity is classified as low, moderate, or high severity - a distinction that is often made using prefire and postfire satellite imagery. This analysis included information from over 11,000 fires (occurring from 1984 to 2013) to understand the spatial distribution and predictors of high severity fires across the contiguous U.S. Predictor variables included prefire vegetation (derived from LANDFIRE's Existing Vegetation Cover), topography, and fuel moisture; the response variable was burn severity (derived from the U.S. interagency Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity Program). They mapped their predictions as a "Severe Fire Potential Index" ranging from 0 to 100 and present observations about the spatial distribution of high severity fires and the variables that impact burn severity. Perhaps most importantly, they make recommendations to managers and scientists using the Severe Fire Potential Index for making long-term assessments and to inform strategic planning while also generating the first-ever (30-m) map of severe fire potential across all lands in the contiguous U.S. | Read the report

Below: Potential for high severity fire in the western United States, modeled using 90th-percentile 1,000-hour fuel moistures and the normalized difference vegetation index developed from 2011 MODIS satellite imagery.
map describing high severy fire potential in western U.S.
Henry Bastian
DOI Business Lead
Frank Fay
USFS Business Lead
Tim Hatten
USGS Project Manager
Jim Smith
TNC-LF Project Lead
Inga La Puma
LF Technical Lead

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The LANDFIRE Program is a cooperative agreement between the USDA Forest Service, agencies of the Department of the Interior, and The Nature Conservancy. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, the Program is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.