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Connecting Wildlands
& Communities

Team Fire Update

TEAM RESEARCH GOALS
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Wildlands
  • Understand the interaction of fire and vegetation

  • Understand the role of vegetation as fuel 

  • Investigate the shifts in vegetation as a result of fire

Human Communities
  • Understand patterns of fire risk to communities

  • Help reduce fire risk through land-use planning

Fire + Water
  • Investigate the role of precipitation and infiltration in vegetation moisture

  • Understand the effects of post-fire landscapes in erosion, infiltration, and downstream water quality

Fire + Biodiversity
  • Understand the impact of fire on the management and restoration of connected landscapes

  • Find conservation opportunities to avoid development in fire-prone areas

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WHERE WE ARE NOW
  • Mapped and analyzed patterns of post-fire chaparral recovery in relation to different fire regimes and drought occurrence

  • Developed satellite remote sensing technique to more accurately and precisely map burn areas and fire histories

  • Developed prototype remote sensing tool for mapping and monitoring herbaceous (mostly non-natives) cover

  • Supported the other CWC teams in understanding historical burn areas and how these inform hydrological monitoring and wildlife refuge analysis

"When I think about climate resilience, I think about wildfire mitigation and preparedness. Climate change will directly impact people that live, work, and fight in the wildland-urban interface, and I am motivated to work hard to help them plan, prepare, and adapt."

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- KRISTA WEST
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WHAT'S NEXT
  • Produce a more comprehensive and accurate map of fire history (past 3-4 decades) for southern California

  • Produce a map of vegetation recovery time-scales for the southern California region

  • Combine data on changes in herbaceous cover, ignition locations, and fire history to assess possible changes in fire regime and where wildfire risk may be changing

  • Explore patterns of wildfire damage by home price

  • Incorporate overall findings into data products and tools that will best serve stakeholders

Products

Tools & Media

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"Wildfires: A Tale of Two Backcountries" Nat Talk
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SWAF 2021 Fire Panel
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Al Jazeera features Krista West
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Generation STEM Features Krista West
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Fire: Research and Applications