Field Trips

Field Trips will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 from 1:00-5:30 pm. The cost for field trips is $25/each and includes lunch and transportation. Space is limited so register early!

New Field Trip: Western Rx Fire Science Research Burn

We are also offering a full day field trip on Friday, May 25: Western Rx Fire Science Research Burn at Lubrecht Experimental Forest, Montana. The registration and payment for this field trip is separate from the main conference registration.

Field Trip 1: Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribal Fire and Forestry Management: Philosophy, Management Strategies, and Working Across Boundaries  (field trip full, email for waitlist)

Read Trip Description

Tribes manage 18 million acres of forests in the US and tribal stewardship practices are uniquely poised to address complex challenges facing natural resource managers. Tribal knowledge offers long-term connectivity to resources and place as well as holistic practices and a commitment to sustaining forests and forest-dependent communities.

The Flathead Indian Reservation, located approximately 20 miles north of Missoula, is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and covers 1.3 million acres. CSKT fire management program has been proactive in reintroducing fire by applying its Forest Management Plan and strategies within. This tour will begin with a discussion on forestry and fire management operations on the reservation. We will 1) highlight the landscape scale management style to conduct treatments that cross boundaries through application of the Tribal Forest Protection Act and 2) showcase CSKT fire management philosophy to restore fire as an effective management tool. We will also discuss other tribes’ approaches to fire management and their ongoing planning and implementation of adaptive strategies that may generate wide interest.


Field Trip 2: Marshall Woods Fuel Treatment Project: Challenges to Building Consensus and Conveying Fire Hazard Mitigation and Ecological Restoration Needs to the Public

Marshall Woods

Read Trip Description

Join us for a tour of the Marshall Woods Restoration Project in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area on the Lolo National Forest just a few miles north of Missoula.  The recreation area was identified as having the 2nd highest wildfire risk in Missoula County’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, but was highly contentious in the community and resulted in many letters to the editor in the Missoulian newspaper and eventual changes to the Lolo National Forest’s preferred action. The 13,000 acre recreation area abuts city and private land and the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area, includes a heavily used trail system, and is the municipal watershed for Missoula. The project is designed to restore ecosystem function, enhance natural ecological processes, and emulate fire’s nature role on the landscape through vegetation treatments. Project implementation started in 2016 and is on-going. Field trip participants will walk through a portion of the treatment units and discuss community engagement and social and ecological aspects of fuel treatments. Participants should be prepared to walk approximately 2 miles on unpaved trails with some gentle slopes during this field trip.


Field Trip 3: Tour of the US Forest Service, Fire Science Laboratory and Missoula Smokejumper Center (field trip full, email for waitlist)

USFS, Fire Science Laboratory

Missoula Smokejumper Center

Read Trip Description

Take a one-of-a-kind, extensive tour of the US Forest Service Missoula Smokejumper Base and Fire Sciences Laboratory. The tour will start at the Smokejumper Base, the largest of its kind in the US, to provide an in-depth look at the profession of smokejumping and allows visitors to learn about jump gear, parachutes, cargo and aircraft. Next, participants will tour the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire Sciences Lab to see some of the current research studies being conducted at this internationally renowned wildland fire science facility. You will see the burn chamber, wind tunnel, soils laboratory, fire history laboratory, and MODIS satellite receiving station. 


Field Trip 4: Fuel Treatment Effects in Ponderosa Pine-Douglas-fir Forests: 18 Years after the Lubrecht Fire-Fire Surrogate Study (field trip full, email for waitlist)

Lubrecht Fire-Fire Surrogate Study in 2016 – 15 years after treatment and 5 years after mountain pine beetle outbreak

Organized by Northern Rockies Fire Science Network

Read Trip Description

This field tour will visit one of the National Fire-Fire Surrogate Study Sites at the University of Montana’s Lubrecht Experimental Forest ( This study, initiated in 1999, evaluates the effects of thinning and burning treatments in fire-adapted ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests. A unique aspect of the study is that it was heavily impacted by a mountain pine beetle outbreak approximately 5 years after treatment implementation. We will discuss short and mid-term treatment effects, including stand dynamics, fuel treatment longevity, potential fire behavior, bark beetle activity, and soil productivity.

The field tour will start with a brief background of the Lubrecht Experimental Forest and the National Fire-Fire Surrogate study. Then we’ll walk through the treatment units to see and discuss the effects of the four fuel treatments (control, burn-only, thinning-only, and thinning+burn) on a variety of forest characteristics.

Field trip lead: Chris Keyes, Research Professor of Silviculture, University of Montana, W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation;

Organized by Northern Rockies Fire Science Network







Field Trip 5: From the Wilderness to the WUI: Management of the Lolo Peak 2017 Wildfire (field trip full, email for waitlist) 

Lolo Peak Fire

Read Trip Description

The 2017 Lolo Peak Wildfire burned 53,900 acres just south of Missoula, MT on the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests. It was one of numerous large fires in Montana in 2017, which was the 3rd largest wildfire season on the State’s record. This long-duration fire started in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, but eventually impacted multiple land ownerships and was the costliest fire in Northern Rockies Region history. The fire was managed under a unified command structure, with numerous stakeholders involved during the incident, including the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests, Missoula and Ravalli Counties Rural Fire Districts and Sherriff Departments, and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. This trip will include stops to view portions of the burned area and cover such topics as: fire management in the wildland urban interface, the potential of prior management to impact fire behavior, and suppression decisions in the context of a very active regional fire season.