Fire

The YFDP burned in a backfire set to control the progression of the Rim Fire of 2013. This event gave us a unique opportunity to examine the post-fire evolution of the forest, including the mechanisms of immediate and delayed fire mortality. Using the YFDP as a calibration area, we are developing models of post-fire mortality throught the greater Yosemite landscape as well as testing existing models of fire mortality.

This map illustrates the range of burn severity within the YFDP (classifications are calibrated dNBR values). Green polygons indicate unburned surface area.

This map illustrates the locations of the validation plots established to test models of post-fire mortality.

The fire in the YFDP provoked spatially non-random mortality, especially among large-diameter trees.
 
 
 
Interactions between fire, beetles, and drought caused extensive mortality, this will have lasting effects on the spatial distribution of large trees in this forest.
 
 
Using the largest spatially explicit post-fire tree mortality dataset in existence, we validated satellite-derived fire severity indices. We found a great deal of uncertainty in the relationship between satellite-derived severity and actual tree mortality, challenging the confidence with which we may infer mortality based on satellite imagery.
 
Existing mortality models (grey lines) underpredicted mortality for conifers (red, blue, and purple panels), while overpredicting mortality for hardwood species (orange and green panels).
 
LiDAR-derived tree canopies and the actual position of trees bases (points). We used this spatially explicit field data to evaluate how recently killed trees may be identified remotely with post-fire LiDAR data.
 
 

This post-fire mortality research project is supported by the Joint Fire Science Program as grant 16-1-04-02, "Using multi-scale spatial data to improve predictions of immediate and delayed post-fire mortality".

 
 

Management Implications Fact Sheet

A two-page summary explaining our research and its implications for land managers and private landowners is here.
 
Open Access Data

Macriss, N., T. J. Furniss, S. M. A. Jeronimo, E. L. Crowley, O. W. Germain, S. J. Germain, V. R. Kane, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. 2019. Data for tree mortality calibration of satellite and LiDAR-derived fire severity estimates. Utah State University. Data Set 63. https://doi.org/10.26078/jsz1-3980

Cansler, C. A., M. E. Swanson, T. J. Furniss, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. 2018. Data for pre-fire and post-fire surface fuel loading in a Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. Utah State University. Data Set 51. https://doi.org/10.15142/T3G93X

Janík, D., K. Král, D. Adam, T. Vrška, and J. A. Lutz. 2018. ForestGEO Dead Wood Census Protocol. Data Set 76. https://doi.org/10.26078/vcdr-y089

 
Journal Articles

Furniss, T. J., A. J. Larson, V. R. Kane, and J. A. Lutz. 2020. Wildfire and drought moderate the spatial elements of tree mortality. Ecosphere. 11(8): e03214. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3214

Lutz, J. A, S. Struckman, T. J. Furniss, C. A. Cansler, S. J. Germain, L. L. Yocom, D. J. McAvoy, C. A. Kolden, A. M. S. Smith, M. E. Swanson, and A. J. Larson. 2020. Large-diameter trees dominate snag and surface biomass following reintroduced fire. Ecological Processes 9:41. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13717-020-00243-8

Jeronimo, S. M. A., J. A. Lutz, V. R. Kane, A. J. Larson, and J. F. Franklin. 2020. Burn weather and three-dimensional fuel structure determine post-fire tree mortality. Landscape Ecology 35: 859-878 https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-020-00983-0

Furniss, T. J., V. R. Kane, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. 2020. Detecting actual tree mortality with satellite-derived spectral indices and estimating landscape-level uncertainty. Remote Sensing of Environment 237: 111497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111497

Cansler, C. A., M. E. Swanson, T. J. Furniss, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. 2019. Fuel dynamics after reintroduced fire in an old-growth Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forest. Fire Ecology 15:16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42408-019-0035-y

Furniss, T. J., A. J. Larson, V. R. Kane, and J. A. Lutz. 2019. Multi-scale assessment of post-fire tree mortality models. International Journal of Wildland Fire 28(1): 46-61. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF18031

Lutz, J. A., A. J. Larson, and M. E. Swanson. 2018. Advancing fire science with large forest plots and a long-term multidisciplinary approach. Fire 1(1): 5. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/fire1010005

 
Dissertations

Jeronimo, S. M. A. 2018. Restoring forest resilience in the Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer zone, with a focus on measuring spatial patterns of trees using airbourne lidar. Dissertation. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, August, 2018.(.pdf)

Furniss, T. J. 2021. Big fires, big trees, and big plots: Enhancing our ecological understanding of fire with unprecedented field data. Dissertation. Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Expected, 2021. (.pdf)

 
Presentations

Furniss, T. J. and J. A. Lutz. 2020. Big plots, big trees, and big fires: Enhancing our ecological understanding of fire effects with unprecedented field data. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Salt Lake City, UT. August 5. (.pdf)

Furniss, T. J. and J. A. Lutz. Interactive effects of drought, fire, and bark beetles on tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada, California. Wildland Resources Dept. Graduate Research Seminar. Logan, UT. April 12, 2019. (.pdf)

Furniss, T. J., S. M. A. Jeronimo, V. R. Kane, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. Quantifying uncertainty in satellite-derived fire severity using actual tree mortality. International Association for Landscape Ecology 2019 Annual Meeting. Fort Collins, CO. April 8, 2019. (.pdf)

Furniss, T. J., A. J. Larson, V. R. Kane, and J. A. Lutz. Advancing fire science with unprecedented forest demography data. Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Lab Seminar Series 2018-2019. Missoula, MT. April 4, 2019. (.pdf)

Jeronimo, S. M. A. Three-dimensional fuel structure and cross-scale interactions drive post-fire tree mortality. International Association for Landscape Ecology 2019 Annual Meeting. Fort Collins, CO. April 8, 2019. (.pdf)

Furniss, T. J., A. J. Larson, V. R. Kane, and J. A. Lutz. Spatial elements of fire-related mortality. Intermountain Society of American Foresters Annual Meeting. Logan, UT. March 29, 2019. (.pdf)

Jeronimo, S. M. A. Fire and forest structure in the Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer zone. Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Lab Seminar Series 2018-2019. Missoula, MT. February 14, 2019. (.pdf)

Jeronimo, S. M. A., T. J. Furniss, V. R. Kane, A. J. Larson, and J. A. Lutz. New approaches to fire mortality modelling incorporating spatially explicit multi-scale structure. Fire Continuum Conference. Missoula, MT. May 24, 2018. (.pdf)

Furniss, T. J., and J. A. Lutz. Improving fire mortality models for Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests. Utah State University Graduate Research Symposium. Logan, UT. April 14, 2017. (.pdf)

 
 
Rim Fire effects in the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot

This series of Gigapan images shows the post-fire progression of forest dynamics following the Rim Fire.