Comparing Existing Fire Records with Historical Fire Regimes for Fuel Mitigation Recommendations in the Wildland Urban Interface: A 10 year Case Study of the North Carolina Sandhills

Show full item record

Title: Comparing Existing Fire Records with Historical Fire Regimes for Fuel Mitigation Recommendations in the Wildland Urban Interface: A 10 year Case Study of the North Carolina Sandhills
Author: Ketchie, Christopher
Abstract: Comparing Existing Fire Records with Historical Fire Regimes for Fuel Mitigation Recommendations in the Wildland Urban Interface: A 10 year Case Study of the North Carolina Sandhills By Christopher Ketchie, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Throughout the course of the last century, the United States Forest Service and its partner agencies have consistently addressed the issue of fire management with aggressive suppression while failing to implement an equally aggressive fuel management program. The increasing spread of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) into overcrowded, fire prone forests has put a considerable burden on our nation's fire management infrastructure by significantly increasing costs and decreasing firefighter and public safety. While progress is being made to address high fuel loads in fire dependent ecosystems, the majority of these efforts take place on state and federal public lands away from the WUI areas that are associated with our costliest wildfires. To bridge this gap and efficiently use the already stretched resources of our land management agencies, fire managers must specifically target the WUI areas at highest risk by addressing the deficiency in management objectives such as prescribed burning and mechanical thinning, as well as the equally important social objectives of public outreach and education. The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources (NCDFR) and the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council (NCPFC) have identified the Sandhills Region as a high priority area for fuel mitigation efforts in North Carolina. Over past three summers, NCDFR has utilized Student Conservation Association crews under the NC FIREWISE program to assess WUI communities in the North Carolina Sandhills and other parts of the state by performing fire hazard assessments and completing Community Wildfire Preparedness Plans (CWPP). To facilitate these and future mitigation efforts, my master’s project will compile a comprehensive burn history of the North Carolina Sandhills by combining past wildfire and prescribed fire data from multiple agencies and organizations. These data will then be leveraged against other key data sources in a GIS database, including recognized WUI areas and historical fire regimes, to pinpoint those areas in greatest need of fuel mitigation efforts. The overall goal of this project is to integrate existing fire data with remote sensing data in a GIS environment to provide North Carolina fire managers with the tools to make informed decisions. This process will include elements under the broader umbrella of digital forestry, an emerging field that Zhao et al. (2005) define as “the science, technology, and art of systematically acquiring, integrating, analyzing, and applying digital information to support sustainable forests…[and] is a framework that links all faces of forestry information at local, national, and global levels through an organized digital network” (p. 47). The final output will allow North Carolina fire managers to more effectively use their limited resources in the most fire active region of the state.
Date: 2010-05-13
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.4/4125


Files in this item

Files Size Format View
KetchieChris final.pdf 1.508Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record