Fire Ecology, 2013
Volume 9, Issue 2
The LANDFIRE Program provides comprehensive vegetation and fuel datasets for the entire United States. As with many large-scale ecological datasets, vegetation and landscape conditions must be updated periodically to account for disturbances, growth, and natural succession. The LANDFIRE Refresh effort was the first attempt to consistently update these products nationwide. It incorporated a combination of specific systematic improvements to the original LANDFIRE National data, remote sensing based disturbance detection methods, field collected disturbance in formation, vegetation growth and succession modeling, and vegetation transition processes. This resulted in the creation of two complete datasets for all 50 states: LANDFIRE Refresh 2001, which includes the systematic improvements, and LANDFIRE Refresh 2008, which includes the disturbance and succession updates to the vegetation and fuel data. The new datasets are comparable for studying landscape changes in vegetation type and structure over a decadal period, and provide the most recent characterization of fuel conditions across the country. The applicability of the new layers is discussed and the effects of using the new fuel datasets are demonstrated through a fire behavior modeling exercise using the 2011 Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona as an example.