International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A simulation and optimisation procedure to model daily suppression resource transfers during a fire season in Colorado

Yu Wei A C , Erin J. Belval A , Matthew P. Thompson B , Dave E. Calkin B and Crystal S. Stonesifer B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Warner College of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.

B USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 800 East Beckwith Avenue, Missoula, MT 59801, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: yu.wei@colostate.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(7) 630-641 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16073
Submitted: 30 April 2014  Accepted: 13 September 2016   Published: 2 November 2016

Abstract

Sharing fire engines and crews between fire suppression dispatch zones may help improve the utilisation of fire suppression resources. Using the Resource Ordering and Status System, the Predictive Services’ Fire Potential Outlooks and the Rocky Mountain Region Preparedness Levels from 2010 to 2013, we tested a simulation and optimisation procedure to transfer crews and engines between dispatch zones in Colorado (central United States) and into Colorado from out-of-state. We used this model to examine how resource transfers may be influenced by assignment shift length, resource demand prediction accuracy, resource drawdown restrictions and the compounding effects of resource shortages. Test results show that, in certain years, shortening the crew shift length from 14 days to 4 days doubles the yearly transport cost. Results also show that improving the accuracy in predicting daily resource demands decreases the engine and crew transport costs by up to 40%. Other test results show that relaxing resource drawdown restrictions could decrease resource transport costs and the reliance on out-of-state resources. The model-suggested assignments result in lower transport costs than did historical assignments.

Additional keywords: fire management, modelling, planning.


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