Many terms are used to communicate actions neccessary to improve forest health and resiliency in Washington. While different organizations and individuals that provide data to this website may have slight variations on how they define specific terms, for consistency we present this glossary of definitions to guide both data entry and interpretation of information provided on this site.
Broadcast burn – A prescribed fire method where fire is applied generally to most or all of an area within well-defined boundaries to meet specified objectives for improved ecological health and resiliency.
Fire preparedness - Activities that lead to a safe, efficient, and cost-effective fire management program in support of land and resource management objectives through appropriate planning and coordination. Mental readiness to recognize changes in fire danger and act promptly when action is appropriate. The range of deliberate, critical tasks, and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve the capability to protect against, respond to, and recover from incidents.
Fire prevention - Activities directed at reducing the incidence of fires, including public education, law enforcement, personal contact, and reduction of fuel hazards (fuels management).
Forest health - The condition of a forest ecosystem reflecting its ability to sustain characteristic structure, function, and processes; resilience to fire, insects and other disturbance mechanisms; adaptability to changing climate and increased drought stress; and capacity to provide ecosystem services to meet landowner objectives and human needs.
Fuels treatment - Manipulation or removal of fuels to reduce the likelihood of ignition, lessen potential damage and resistance to control, reduce risk to values, and/or increase forest resiliency to fire (e.g., lopping, chipping, crushing, piling and burning).
Grant - In the Forest Health Tracker system, a grant is a sum of money given by a government or other organization for a particular purpose to improve forest health and resiliency in Washington. Greater details on the funding source, award performance period, and other details are captured for each grant entered into the system.
Interactions – In the Forest Health Tracker system, an interaction is a non-treatment action taken by an individual or group to increase understanding, knowledge, and engagement in order to achieve forest health and resiliency goals in Washington. These include events, outreach, education, site visits, research, and monitoring actions. An interaction can be a stand-alone project, a component of an integrated forest health project, or linked to a treatment.
Monitoring - The systematic action to observe, check, and review the progress or quality of something over a period of time.
Pile burn – A prescribed fire method where fire is applied directly to piles of vegetation resulting from logging or fuels management activities; fire is not intended to spread outside of pile perimeter.
Potential Control Lines (PCLs) - Boundaries of Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) relevant to fire control operations (e.g. roads, ridgetops, and water bodies).
Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) for wildland fire - Landscape containers whose boundaries are potential control lines (PCLs). PODs are useful for planning strategic response to unplanned ignitions, strategic fuel planning, and prioritizing fuel treatments within PODs.
Prescribed fire - Also sometimes called prescribed burn fire or controlled fire, this is when fire is intentionally applied by trained practitioners to vegetation to improve forest ecosystem health and resiliency. This includes two primary types of prescribed fire: broadcast burning and pile burning.
Project - In this Forest Health Tracker system, projects are defined as a particular proposal, plan, treatment, or interaction specifically aimed to improve forest health and resiliency in our state. Projects are submitted by individuals and organizations responsible for their implementation, and interpretation of projects that meet this definition is the responsibility of the individual or organization submitting information. Some projects are simple one-time events or single treatments, such as a stand-alone prescribed burn. In other cases, there are projects that present plans to include multiple treatments and activities within them that are completed in a strategically phased approach within a specific geography. An example of the latter includes a US Forest Service Record of Decision for a project that includes a plan and authorizes a series of commercial and non-commercial thinning treatments across national forest land in a particular watershed to be followed with some acres also having a prescribed burn treatment.
Project phase - In this Forest Health Tracker system this term refers to the current point at which a project exists in the life cycle of a project from proposed to planned to implementation to complete. Below are the project phases tracked in Forest Health Tracker:
- Proposed – A forest health project that has been identified with an intent to be completed, but is still in a conceptual or project development phase. Examples a Forest Service project that has begun public engagement through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and does not yet have a signed Record of Decision, as well as out-year projects identified by the Forest Service in their 5-year plans of work that have not yet moved into a planning phase.
- Planned – A forest health project that has been identified and has completed a defined suite of actions, but where implementation has not yet initiated. Examples include a Forest Stewardship Plan for an individual or collection of private lands, or a state lands planned treatment for a future biennium.
- Implementation – A forest health project that has been planned and is currently being implemented (in part or in whole). Examples include a project on state owned lands that has completed SEPA review and has a signed decision, and is currently being implemented. While a project is in implementation, there may be completed treatments within it.
- Complete – A forest health project that was planned and fully implemented. These projects have been signed off on by the land owner, land management agency, or resource agency responsible for the project that they are fully implemented and they are now in a monitoring stage until maintenance actions are needed.
- Cancelled – A forest health project that was identified and for any reason was cancelled prior to implementation. These projects will not be shown in the project viewer, but will be tracked in the system's records.
Resilience - The ability of a landscape (or ecosystem) to sustain desired ecological functions, robust native biodiversity, and critical landscape processes over time and under changing conditions. In terms of wildfire, a resilient landscape is able to adapt to a warming, drying climate and increases in wildfire by shifting to more drought- and fire-tolerant tree species, fuel structures, and landscape patterns that are aligned with future climate and fire regimes. A resilient landscape is resistant to large-scale, high severity fires and drought-induced tree mortality that can lead to rapid, destabilizing shifts in conditions that make adaptation much more challenging.
Treatment - In the Forest Health Tracker system, a treatment is an action taken in a forest ecosystem aimed to improve forest health and resiliency. A treatment can be a stand alone project or a component of an integrated forest health project. Treatments are currently focused specifically on vegetation management and are categorized into one of four categories:
- Non-commercial treatment - An action to manage vegetation in a forest ecosystem to improve forest health and resiliency that did not produce a commercial product, but was done at a cost. These actions may include a non-commercial thin, pre-commercial thin, surface fuels treatment (ladder fuel removal, pruning, piling), native planting/reforestation, or invasives treatment.
- Commercial treatment - A manipulation of vegetation in a forested ecosystem with an objective to improve forest health and resiliency that also had a primary or by-product of economically valued material. These actions may include a commercial thin, uneven-age harvest, or regeneration harvest.
- Prescribed fire treatment - Also sometimes called prescribed burn fire or controlled fire, this is when fire is intentionally applied by trained practitioners to vegetation to improve forest ecosystem health and resiliency. This includes two primary types of prescribed fire: broadcast burning and pile burning.
- Other - A category to track a vegetation management action that improves forest health and resiliency that does not fit in a category above.
Treatment acres - Forest health treatment data is reported in two ways. Total treatment acres allow us to track individual actions invested in and implemented at a point in time, while footprint acres allow us to track scale of impact over time.
- Total treatment acres track every forest health treatment conducted, including those that occurred in sequence on the same acre over time. For example, a commercial thinning may have been conducted on an acre prior to a prescribed burn.
- Footprint acres are calculated through spatial analysis to ensure one acre that experienced one or more forest health treatments is only counted once.
Wildfire response benefit - Any tactical advantage gained for wildfire response activities from actions on the landscape, including identifying and consolidating existing anchor points and control lines and reducing potential fire behavior. Wildfire response benefit is not restricted to any specific fire management strategy; it is centered on conditions that improve fire operations safety and efficacy during suppression, prescribed fire, or managed wildfire.