The probability of wildfires striking locations in Great Basin rangelands can now be forecast with a new model developed by ARS scientists and their collaborators. (ARS photo by Chad Boyd.)

Scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service and the University of Montana have developed a way to forecast which of the Great Basin's more than 60 million acres have the highest probability of a large rangeland fire.

The forecasts come from a model developed by the researchers that combines measures of accumulated annual and perennial grass vegetation that is potential fire fuel with recent weather and climate data. When integrated, this information can be translated into maps showing the likelihood of a large wildfire—greater than 1,000 acres—across the Great Basin. These forecasts also can be scaled down to predict fire risk for counties or even single pastures.

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