In 2019, the Joint Fire Science Program funded research to compile a unified database of wildland firefighter entrapments and improve our knowledge of factors leading to these situations. This is one example of how JFSP funding is furthering wildland fire science.
BY KAREN DANTE-WOOD
It’s no surprise that you feel tired of seeing the news about wildfires across the United States. By now, we’re all familiar with the headlines. They make proclamations such as “New Record Set for Most Wildfires in a Year” and “Wildfires Continue to Increase Due to Climate Change.” No matter the specific story, you feel the news of worsening fire seasons is repeated each year. You are not wrong. Unfortunately, this is our new norm.
At the same time, incredible work is being accomplished to address these challenges. Researchers are helping us understand the science behind wildfires and how to proactively manage landscapes that are prone to them.
One of those efforts involves close collaboration between scientists and land managers to learn how to effectively treat hazardous vegetation that can fuel fires, reduce the threat of severe wildland fires, address smoke, plan for post-fire recovery, and restore the appropriate role of fire in ecosystems. This is possible thanks, in part, to the Joint Fire Science Program.
In 1998, Congress directed the Interior and Agriculture departments to develop a joint program to provide sound scientific studies to support land management agencies in addressing issues associated with wildfire. With the historic increase in funding for wildfire management provided through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Joint Fire Science Program will expand its efforts with an additional $20 million over five years.
Since its inception, the program has offered an annual funding cycle. This open, competitive solicitation seeks peer-reviewed proposals for wildfire research priorities.
The funding opportunities for fiscal year 2023 are now open. The Joint Fire Science Program is soliciting proposals from both government and non-government entities in three categories.
The primary funding opportunity is seeking new research proposals. This year, the focus is divided between four areas:
Under the second funding opportunity, the Joint Fire Science Program invites current masters and doctoral students enrolled at colleges or universities within the U.S. and studying the field of wildland fire or related sciences to apply for a Graduate Research Innovation award. The awards enhance student exposure to the management and policy relevance of their research and benefit funded work.
The Regional Fire Science Exchange funding opportunity supports exchanges that share wildfire science with land managers to help them understand and act on the results. This year, it is focused on leading and executing a regional fire science exchange in six regions: Alaska, Great Basin, Northern Rockies, Oak Woodlands, Northwest, and Pacific Islands.
Through annual funding opportunities, the Joint Fire Science Program invests in important research. In recent years, this has included the COVID-19 Incident Risk Assessment Tool for wildfire operations, research related to improving wildland firefighter safety, effects of post-fire management on vegetation and fuels following fires in mixed conifer forests, and much more. Each effort is only successful when the research makes its way into the hands of land managers, practitioners, and policymakers to inform their work.
For those involved in wildfire science, please consider applying to advance this important research and support sound decision-making on the ground.
Proposals are due by December 20, 2022, through https://www.firescience.gov/. For questions about these funding opportunities, please contact Ed Brunson, Joint Fire Science Program manager, at email@example.com or (208) 387-5975.
Karen Dante-Wood is the technology transfer specialist for the Joint Fire Science Program at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.