These POD People Are Friendly: Check Out the RMRS PODs Website

No, not those Pod People!  I mean these POD people: the WRMS team (apparently pronounced “worms”) and the PODs User Community.


John Marshall had a good suggestion that we not use acronyms without explaining them.  I had used PODs, and when I went looking for a good explanation, I found this excellent Rocky Mountain Research Station site that has everything about them that a person might want to know in one place.  Kudos, applause and mega-appreciation to RMRS and the PODs people!


We had also been talking about why more panels and media don’t involve fire suppression folks..  here is a video from RMRS that does just that.. about PODS.

PODs are being used right now based on what folks have, roads, old fires, and so on.  They also “being used by resource managers to proactively define meaningful projects, plan
fuels management, and conduct prescribed fire.”  So it appears that operational (fire) folks are in the driver’s seat, with concerns about values at risk, and is also collaborative. 

At the same time, PODs also carry with them, or at least seem to be related to, the idea “if you design them well you can do more WFWB (wildfire with benefits; sorry my own acronym, there are currently too many floating around to pick one; this one was obviously selected due to its resemblance to the commonly used expression “friends with benefits”).

As Dan Dallas says in the video, fire people have never seen these kinds of fire behavior before.  At the same time, there is a story that “we know what we’re doing, trust us when we want to use WFWB.”  This seems a bit of a paradox, but it’s altogether possible that I’m missing something (or many things).  Hopefully a fire person out there can enlighten us on this.

There are interesting videos (with amazing GIS stuff)  describing how PODs were used on the Dixie Fire,  the Twenty Five Mile Fire, and the Balsinger Fire in 2021. Now, fire people are notorious for acronyms, and concepts that sound like standard English but mean something else.  So if you run into any of these let me know, and we can ask around as to what they mean.



4 thoughts on “These POD People Are Friendly: Check Out the RMRS PODs Website”

  1. I see the word “planning” here. And that PODs are identified “collaboratively.” Fire managers are prone to avoiding formal decision processes like forest planning and NEPA. It sounds to me, though not clearly, like they are making long-term decisions to manage certain units of land differently, which would require a formal planning process. (If instead they are just making one-time decisions about fire “projects,” they would have to be consistent with the forest plan.)

    • Jon, that’s why I proposed the FS initiate a stand-down on plan revision, and the FS instead focus on amendments that incorporate PODs and WFWB (Wildland Fire With Benefits) for key fire forests.
      So it might be that we agree on this!
      Nevertheless, one problem I see is that post-decisional wildfires might make it necessary to change aspects of these there would need to be some updating -(and of course not the whole EIS amendment process) perhaps a legislated CE for updates to Wildfire Management Amendments?

      • We might agree that forest plans need to address this :-). The “typical POD boundaries” are mostly things that won’t change, so would clearly be appropriate for long-term management direction, but the last one listed is “major fuel changes.” Even if that is describing a condition that could change to the point of rendering the POD useless, not using a POD would not require a plan amendment. An amendment would only be necessary if a forest wanted to do something not consistent with the plan components for PODs.


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