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Our modeling framework can represent the dynamic interplay between fire and forest fuels in response to projected changes in climate and human population between now and 2100.

WFFRC’s custom-built model is unique  because never before have fire and forests been coupled  into one high-resolution model capable of simulating the entire Western US, even though these two systems are closely linked in the real world. For example, when a severe fire burns a forest, it is likely the forest will not have enough fuel to burn again for many years. With our model, we will finally be able to simulate feedbacks such as this — a monumental effort that requires a supercomputer to represent all the different variables involved.

The model will help us explore:

  • How will eastern US forest-fire regimes change in coming years to decades based on climate projections?

  • When, where, and at what spatial scales will declining fuel loads result in reduced future burned area and fire severity?

  • How might management and policy strategies affect regional-scale trajectories of change in forests and fire regimes, and at what spatial and temporal scales do interventions have impact?

Being able to capture detailed interactions between climate, fire, and forests will be a critical breakthrough for weighing the outcomes of strategies like firefighting, prescribed burning, and mechanical thinning, and will help us better understand when and where forest ecosystems will bounce back after fire.



The team will be using the National Center for Atmospheric Research-run supercomputer Derecho.



Park Williams

University of California, Los Angeles

Alexandra Konings

Stanford University

Claire Schollaert

University of California, Los Angeles

Winslow Hansen

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Lara Kueppers

University of California, Berkeley

Anna Trugman

University of California, Santa Barbara

Christopher Kibler

University of California, Santa Barbara

Manette Sandor

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Christopher Kibler
University of California, Santa Barbara

The Collaborative provides a rare opportunity to unite the country's best forest scientists to solve a critical problem: How do we promote resilient fire regimes that maximize ecosystem services while minimizing the adverse effects of fire on human populations? It is a tremendous honor to contribute to this groundbreaking research effort.

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