USU Researchers Creating State Fire Atlas For Prevention Efforts

May 27, 2020, 9:41 PM | Updated: 9:51 pm

LOGAN, Utah – There have been 200 wildfires so far in 2020, including the Saddle Fire in Wasatch County that investigators said was started by a child and the Anderson Junction Fire in Washington County that was started by a vehicle dragging a sparking chain.

Those fires burn in Utah’s many types of unique brush, climate and terrain conditions and there is no single best approach for managing it all.

That is why a team at Utah State University’s Forestry Institute is turning to the past to create the state’s first fire atlas.

“What we want to do is help steward our landscapes,” said USU associate professor Jim Lutz.

He is sorting through about forty years of satellite images for the project.

Lutz and Megan Nasto are among those at the institute who are looking at what can be learned from all those previous wildfires.

“We are really interested in analyzing and understanding small fires in the state of Utah because many prescribed burns that managers like to put on their landscape are small in size,” said Nasto, a manager at the Utah Forest Institute.

While the big raging fires need to be contained quickly, Lutz said looking at the more frequent small fires can help understand how to manage Utah’s wildlands better.

USU associate professor Jim Lutz.

“We want to help managers understand how these smaller fires are likely to burn and to help them plan more prescribed burns.”

They are putting an extra focus on forests which is where the most brush is burned.

“We have enough fires, if we look at the whole state, to be able to say definitive things about different forest types,” Lutz added.

The hope is the mountains of data can make fire managers more proactive in knowing where prescribed burns might be needed and ultimately resulting in fewer of those big, raging forest fires.

“We want to give them more tools to help them steward our lands even better in the future,” Lutz said.

The institute plans to send out undergraduate researchers to burn scars across the state for closer study this summer.

Lutz said the fire atlas will be available online once it’s completed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Lamont Dorrity...
Ayanna Likens

How exercise helps with Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease is affecting more and more people across the nation. While there is no cure, one thing is showing promise in improving symptoms.
18 hours ago
Clearing Little Cottonwood Creek...
Jed Boal

Creek clearing is underway in Salt Lake to minimize threat of flooding

Many Utah communities are working proactively to minimize flooding that may happen when the snowmelt runoff really gets going in the next couple of months.
18 hours ago
Madison Swenson

Man arrested for stealing 3 guns, cash from Taylorsville home

A 28-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly stealing cash and multiple guns from a Taylorsville residence.
18 hours ago
emergency lights...
Larry D. Curtis

Utah man faces 9 counts of sexual exploitation involving child porn

A Utah doctor is in jail, charged with nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, each a second-degree felony, for owning or producing child sex abuse images.
18 hours ago
Eliza Pace

BLM, others offer $22,500 reward for info on wild horses shot

$22,500 reward offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for two wild horses found shot and killed. 
18 hours ago
Woman using smart phone...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

Gov. Cox signs bill requiring parental approval for teens to join social media sites

The governor of Utah signed a controversial bill on Thursday that will require minors to obtain the consent of a guardian before joining social media platforms, marking the most aggressive step yet by state or federal lawmakers to protect kids online.
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
USU Researchers Creating State Fire Atlas For Prevention Efforts