An aerial photo of the area burned by the Norse Peak Wildfire in 2017. This was the most recent fire in western Washington.

A SEFS project aiming to build a better understanding of how future climate change will affect the potential for fires west of the cascades and understand how fire and climate affect forest recovery and management options there has received $300,000 in funding from the USGS NW Climate Adaptation Science Center. Brian J. Harvey, SEFS assistant professor, is the principal investigator on the project.

Fires in western Washington are infrequent, but as climate changes, there is fear that fires will happen more frequently in the region. Meanwhile, because of the infrequency of the fires there, it is difficult for scientists to know how climate change affects wildfire potential and how these forests will recover if they do burn.

Harvey aims to improve knowledge of how future climate change will affect the potential for smaller and larger wildfires using historical climate records and future climate models to quantify the extreme weather conditions that enable fires to burn.

The project will also measure where two valuable forest resources, trees and huckleberry, are recovering in recently burned areas.