November 15, 2016 at 1:00 PM central time; by Robin Innes and Ilana Abrahamson, US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
Managers and planners need scientifically sound information on historical fire regimes and contemporary changes in fuels and fire regimes in tallgrass prairie and oak woodland ecosystems to make informed management decisions. To address this need, two new fire regime publications—Fire Regime Reports and Fire Regime Syntheses—are now available and spatially searchable in the recently updated user interface for the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS, www.feis-crs.org/feis/). FEIS staff defined 185 fire regimes by grouping the ~2,500 Biophysical Settings (BpS) models produced by LANDFIRE (www.landfire.gov/fireregime.php) according to similarities in vegetation, modeled fire-return intervals and fire severities, and geographic location. Fire Regime Reports are brief summaries of these models, while Fire Regime Syntheses add comprehensive, thoroughly documented reviews of the scientific literature to information in the Fire Regime Reports. Fire Regime Syntheses provide managers with the best science available on historical fire frequency, spatial pattern, extent, and seasonality; historical ignition sources; and typical patterns of fire intensity and severity. They also provide information on contemporary changes in fuels, especially in relation to their potential to influence fire regimes, and identify regions and plant communities lacking fire history data. Together, these publications help managers develop plans and make informed decisions about local management of fire and fuels. In the updated user interface, they are easy to access using a variety of search criteria, including plant community type and map location, and they are linked to nearly 1,100 FEIS Species Reviews.