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Background:

More effective spatial tracking of wildland fire and documenting fire patterns across the Southeast landscape are critical needs identified by a consortium of conservation partners, including members of the Southeast Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS) and America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI). In 2019, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided $1.3 M as an Above-States Initiative award to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) to support the development of a new "SE FireMap" product. The improved accuracy and comprehensive coverage of this SE FireMap will promote better decision-making to prioritize funding for staff, projects, training, equipment and more. Fire is key to healthy native landscapes in the Southeast to keep “working lands” working, restore the longleaf pine ecosystem, support the Department of Defense’s military and training missions, conserve listed and at-risk species, manage for wildfire risk, and minimizing the need to conserve species through regulation. The importance of enhancing and expanding prescribed burn management cannot be overstated - it is imperative that we have a reliable method to select priority geographies to manage natural resources and wildfire risk.

Woman with Drip Torch

The SE FireMap:

The Endowment and NRCS are leading a regional consortium of partners to develop the SE FireMap. The Longleaf Alliance (TLA) leads a Technical Oversight Team (TOT) for the project, with subject matter experts nominated by ALRI and SERPPAS partners. The TOT consists of 10 members who are guiding the project through all phases of development and providing recommendations to NRCS.

To ensure comprehensiveness and product quality, the SE FireMap effort was separated into “Scoping” and “Development” phases. The Endowment released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in 2019 for a national assessment of existing spatial information, models, remote sensing, other tools and approaches relevant to developing an improved fire mapping system. Tall Timbers Research, Inc. (TTR) was chosen to receive this award and is leading the Scoping Phase – concluding in May 2021. Deliverables from the Scoping Phase will consist of recommendations for reference mapping products and tools, methodologies, priority  databases to test and train the map, and budget estimates for the Development Phase of the SE FireMap. As a direct result of initial recommendations, the Scoping Phase is also culminating in the release of a Version 1.0 (v.1) Beta SE FireMap product. This v.1 Beta product will serve as a baseline during the Development Phase and provides a mechanism to garner feedback from the user community.

Based on recommendations from the Scoping Phase, next steps for development of the SE FireMap will be decided by the sponsors based on recommendations from the Technical Oversight Team. Building from the v.1 Beta product, an improved version of the SE FireMap is anticipated to be available in 2022.

Documentation:

SE FireMap Version 1.0 Product Information

SE FireMap Version 1.0 Product Information

Learn more about the dataset development process, attribute descriptions, known issues, limitations, considerations, and references.

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SE FireMap Fact Sheet

SE FireMap Fact Sheet

This document highlights the overall SE FireMap initiative – offering a summary of the project’s background, development process, timeline, and objectives.

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