Scientists using NASA satellite data and climate models predict that the risk of wildfires will increase in coming decades. It is projected that the frequency and severity of wildfires are expected to rise, as is the length of the wildfire season. These changes are expected to occur due to projected drier conditions, which create a favorable environment for wildfires.
To raise awareness and engage the public in understanding the causes and effects of wildfires, the existing Fire Fuel GLOBE protocol will be redesigned and tested for usability and accuracy. The goal is to review and revise the existing protocol with input from fire science researchers to establish a streamlined and accessible protocol, while still providing practicable data for fire science researchers. The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) Education & Outreach (EO) group will work with local fire science researchers, the National Park Service (NPS) at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), and Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) to refine the protocol from a citizen-science perspective.
Following the protocol revision, CIRES E&O will coordinate testing of the updated protocol at two fire science workshops with park naturalists and interpreters in Colorado. The protocol will be further refined, if needed, before the two community workshops—one citizen-science event in Colorado coordinated by CIRES and one educator training in Alaska coordinated by project collaborator Elena Sparrow—to provide training and engagement in the protocol. Lastly, CIRES E&O will create a fire science lesson plan to supplement the new GLOBE Fire Fuel protocol.
Critical review of the project will focus on the extent to which the use of the protocol is of interest to fire scientists and citizen-scientists, the feasibility of undertaking the protocol, and determine if the protocol results in viable data, which can be utilized by fire scientists. The revised Fire Fuel protocol will be updated on the GLOBE website and will be disseminated through regional GLOBE partners who share interests in fire science and the NASA-NPS Earth to Sky Partnership.