New FRID mapping webinar added to CFSC Fall Webinar Series

Dr. Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist for Region 5 of the Forest Service and leader of the CFSC's Sierra Nevada team, will be presenting a webinar titled “Using the California Fire Interval Return Departure (FRID) map metadata: An introduction and demonstration, including challenges to determining reasonable baseline conditions” at 2pm PST on November 10th.

Map showing areas with low (blue), moderate (green), high (yellow), and extreme (red) values for FRID index. (Photo: University of Arizona)To register, visit our Webinar Registration page. If you have already signed up for some of our other webinars, you will have to fill out the form again (unfortunately there is no way to update your original registration).

Title: “Using the California Fire Interval Return Departure (FRID) map metadata: An introduction and demonstration, including challenges to determining reasonable baseline conditions”
Presenter: Dr. Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist, US Forest Service, Region 5
Time: 2pm Thursday, November 10th

Full webinar description:

"Fire is an important process in many of California’s ecosystems, and it is becoming increasingly evident that fire regimes have been greatly altered in some vegetation types by land use patterns and altered ecosystem processes associated with Euroamerican settlement (i.e., after 1850). Climatic change has been shown to be associated with fire regime fluctuations in the past, is a driver of current observed trends of increasing fire activity, and is predicted to continue to alter fire regimes and vegetation types in the future. Consequently, consideration of fire as a landscape-level process is considered essential to facilitating ecological restoration or “realignment” efforts intended to increase ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change.  Although restoration of narrowly-defined historical conditions may no longer be a preferred management prescription in light of the uncertainty surrounding the effects of climate change on fire and other ecological processes, information on fire regimes before Euroamerican settlement is of fundamental importance to modern and future management of many ecosystems in western North America. Such historical information can help, among other things, to document the current status of fire in ecosystems and trends in fire activity and ecological effects over time; to foment understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive ecosystem response to changes in climate, fire, landscapes and their interactions; and to provide data upon which models of “properly functioning” or “resilient” ecosystems might be built.

Drawing comparisons between presettlement and current fire regimes can also assist land managers in prioritizing areas for ecological restoration. Fire return interval departure (FRID) analysis facilitates quantification of the difference between current and presettlement fire return intervals (FRIs), allowing managers to target areas at high risk of type conversion due to altered fire regimes. FRID has been used as a basic data layer for management of vegetation in California since the mid-1990s, beginning in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. We expanded on the SEKI-NP data by using a recent comprehensive summary of presettlement fire frequency estimates for California ecosystems dominated by woody plants (van de Water and Safford 2011) to supply the basis for FRID mapping and analysis on public lands across California. Our recent mapping effort expands FRID to (almost) all public lands in California, and includes an annual update cycle, based on the California fire perimeter database, stewarded by CalFire-FRAP.

In this webinar, Hugh Safford, Regional Ecologist for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, will demonstrate the California-wide FRID product and its use. He will also cover some of the limitations of the FRID dataset, which include lack of data on presettlement fire regimes in some vegetation types, and the pernicious problem (common to most historical comparisons) of determining what is a reasonable baseline condition."