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

Sharing contracted resources for fire suppression: engine dispatch in the Northwestern United States

Katie M. Lyon A , Heidi R. Huber-Stearns A C , Cassandra Moseley A , Christopher Bone B and Nathan A. Mosurinjohn A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institute for a Sustainable Environment, 130 Hendricks Hall, 5247 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.

B Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: hhuber@uoregon.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(2) 113-121 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16100
Submitted: 31 May 2016  Accepted: 18 December 2016   Published: 1 February 2017

Abstract

As demand for wildfire response resources grows across the globe, a central challenge is developing new and flexible systems and capacity to ensure that resources needed for fire response arrive when and where they are needed. Private contractors have become increasingly important in providing equipment and services to support agency wildfire suppression needs in the USA. Understanding the capacity of contracted resources for federal agency fire suppression needs is critical for preseason fire planning and response. Using National Resource Ordering and Status System data, we examined Northwest region engine dispatches from 2008 to 2015. The number of times and days engines were out on assignments increased over the study period, and dispatch centres routinely shared engines within and outside their geographic area. However, in 2015, not all of the available engines were recorded as utilised at peak demand during one of the largest fire seasons in the Northwest. This study provides insight into the ways in which fire managers share important resources such as engines and the information they have available to make decisions during an incident, and raises questions about what the right amount of capacity is to be able to respond in extreme fire years.

Additional keywords: Dispatch Priority List, resource ordering.


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