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Poster: Allegheny Highlands Fire Severity Assessment (February 2013)

Swaney, Nikole
2/20/2013
link DOWNLOAD FILE: poster

Fire Severity Assessment in the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia
 
L. Nikole Swaney, The Nature Conservancy
John Moncure, US Forest Service
Marek Smith, The Nature Conservancy
Beth Buchanan, US Forest Service, and
Daniel Buckler, The Nature Conservancy
 
Poster presented at the International Association of Wildland Fire 4th Annual Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference
Abstract
In 2006, land managers and ecologists from several Appalachian states met to develop approaches for restoring the historic role of fire to oak- and pine-dominated ecosystems throughout the region. This meeting launched the Appalachian Fire Learning Network (FLN), a collaboration of seven agencies, representing four states. During the spring of 2012, wildfires burned approximately 40,000 acres within the Allegheny Highlands of western Virginia, one on the FLN demonstration landscapes. Known as the Easter Complex, these wildfires were an unprecedented event for a region that has not historically experienced wildfires at this scale. The fires affected a variety of ecological systems and national forest management areas, including previously treated prescribed burned areas and designated wilderness. The fires resulted from a variety of ignition sources and were managed through a combination of natural progression and different firing techniques and patterns. Taking advantage of the opportunity to learn about the effects of fire on a landscape-scale, FLN partners embarked upon a fire severity assessment in summer 2012, utilizing Rapid Assessment of Vegetation Condition after Wildfire (RAVG) satellite imagery and the Composite Burn Index (CBI) protocol. The goals of the study include: mapping fire severity in conjunction with firing patterns and techniques, illustrating variances in fire severity throughout wildfire and prescribed fire areas, and evaluating the Easter Complex as a case study for wilderness area management. The assessment will continue through the 2014 growing season to evaluate long-term fire effects with the aid of Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity satellite imagery.
Note: This poster had to be slightly compressed to upload properly. For a full-resolution version, please contact Nikole Swaney (nswaney @ tnc.org) or Liz Rank (lrank @ tnc.org). 
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