Between 2016 and 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Southern Plains Climate Hub led a project to assess the impacts of the recent historic 2016 and 2018 wildfires on the Southern Plains. Titled the 2016-2018 Southern Plains Wildfire Assessment, this project was coordinated with multiple agencies and organizations across the region including the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) a NOAA Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) team, University of Oklahoma’s Center for Spatial Analysis, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grazinglands Research Laboratory, among others. Elements of this project included three local stakeholder events across the affected region as well as a research component investigating characteristics of vegetation recovery within these areas. The findings of both are coupled in this assessment report to encourage the risk reduction measures of future wildfire recovery and preparedness efforts across the Southern Plains.
The stakeholder events included a large forum meeting in 2018, as well as both pre- and postform local stakeholder listening sessions. The goals of these events were to learn about local impacts and recovery perspectives, discuss federal aid programs, encourage collaboration and communication amongst participants, assess past and future wildfire climatological conditions, and promote future agricultural and wildfire preparedness.