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

Federal fire managers’ perceptions of the importance, scarcity and substitutability of suppression resources

Crystal S. Stonesifer A B , David E. Calkin A and Michael S. Hand A

A US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 800 East Beckwith Avenue, Missoula, MT 59801, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: csstonesifer@fs.fed.us

International Journal of Wildland Fire - https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16124
Submitted: 12 July 2016  Accepted: 29 December 2016   Published online: 27 February 2017

Abstract

Wildland firefighting in the United States is a complex and costly enterprise. While there are strong seasonal signatures for fire occurrence in specific regions of the United States, spatiotemporal occurrence of wildfire activity can have high inter-annual variability. Suppression resources come from a variety of jurisdictions and provide a wide range of skills, experience and associated mobility and logistical needs. Dispatch centres and regional and national resource allocation centres move suppression resources to respond to demand. However, little is known about the decision-making processes driving the allocation of limited resources at the national scale, particularly during periods of increased resource scarcity. Moreover, an understanding of these systems provides no insight into the impressions from the field regarding the value and relative scarcity of specific resources. We designed and implemented an online survey of United States Forest Service employees who have direct or indirect responsibility for ordering suppression resources, with the main objective of identifying which resources the field perceived to be most important, most scarce and which were without acceptable substitutes. In this research note, we present a preliminary overview of a selection of results of our survey and discuss the next steps for potential future analyses of the dataset.

Additional keywords: fire economics, fire management, fire suppression.


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