Predicting Re-Burn Potential on Idaho’s Sagebrush Steppe Landscapes

Amanda Gearhart, Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences

Wildfire has been identified as one of the biggest threats to sage grouse, a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, habitat. Idaho has 5.7 million acres of priority sage grouse habitat, and it has been estimated nearly 40% of this land has burned at least once. Sites that re-burn have a high potential to be converted to annual grasslands which are useless to sage grouse. This project will use satellite imagery to evaluate the extent of sage grouse habitat lost to fire in the past 40 years (duration of satellite imagery), delineate areas that have burned multiple times, and build a model to predict landscapes that will re-burn in the future. Field reconnaissance will be used to verify landscape characteristics that contribute to a high re-burn potential and add validity to the existing model. Outputs from this project will include a model of re-burn potential that can be used by federal land management agencies, two refereed journal publications, and an extension current information series publication.