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

A review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management

Matthew P. Thompson A D , Francisco Rodríguez y Silva B , David E. Calkin C and Michael S. Hand C

A US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 240 West Prospect Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA.

B Department of Forest Engineering, Forest Fire Laboratory, University of Córdoba, Edificio Leonardo da Vinci, Campus de Rabanales, E-14071 Córdoba, Spain.

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

D Corresponding author. Email: mpthompson02@fs.fed.us

International Journal of Wildland Fire - https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16137
Submitted: 27 July 2016  Accepted: 15 March 2017   Published online: 20 April 2017

Abstract

Characterising the impacts of wildland fire and fire suppression is critical information for fire management decision-making. Here, we focus on decisions related to the rare larger and longer-duration fire events, where the scope and scale of decision-making can be far broader than initial response efforts, and where determining and demonstrating efficiency of strategies and actions can be particularly troublesome. We organise our review around key decision factors such as context, complexity, alternatives, consequences and uncertainty, and for illustration contrast fire management in Andalusia, Spain, and Montana, USA. Two of the largest knowledge gaps relate to quantifying fire impacts to ecosystem services, and modelling relationships between fire management activities and avoided damages. The relative magnitude of these and other concerns varies with the complexity of the socioecological context in which fire management decisions are made. To conclude our review, we examine topics for future research, including expanded use of the economics toolkit to better characterise the productivity and effectiveness of suppression actions, integration of ecosystem modelling with economic principles, and stronger adoption of risk and decision analysis within fire management decision-making.

Additional keywords: decision analysis, economics, risk, uncertainty.


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Modeling wildfire incident complexity dynamics.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP (2014) Social, institutional, and psychological factors affecting wildfire incident decision-making. Society & Natural Resources 27, 636–644.
Social, institutional, and psychological factors affecting wildfire incident decision-making.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, Calkin DE (2011) Uncertainty and risk in wildland fire management: a review. Journal of Environmental Management 92, 1895–1909.
Uncertainty and risk in wildland fire management: a review.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, Scott J, Helmbrecht D, Calkin DE (2013a) Integrated wildfire risk assessment: framework development and application on the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana, USA. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 9, 329–342.
Integrated wildfire risk assessment: framework development and application on the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana, USA.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, Marcot BG, Thompson FR, McNulty S, Fisher LA, Runge MC, Cleaves D, Tomosy M (2013b) The science of decision-making: applications for sustainable forest and grassland management in the National Forest System. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report WO-GTR-88. (Washington, DC)

Thompson MP, Haas JR, Finney MA, Calkin DE, Hand MS, Browne MJ, Halek M, Short KC, Grenfell IC (2015a) Development and application of a probabilistic method for wildfire suppression cost modeling. Forest Policy and Economics 50, 249–258.
Development and application of a probabilistic method for wildfire suppression cost modeling.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, Haas JR, Gilbertson-Day JW, Scott JH, Langowski P, Bowne E, Calkin DE (2015b) Development and application of a geospatial wildfire exposure and risk calculation tool. Environmental Modelling & Software 63, 61–72.
Development and application of a geospatial wildfire exposure and risk calculation tool.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, Freeborn P, Rieck JD, Calkin DE, Gilbertson-Day JW, Cochrane MA, Hand MS (2016a) Quantifying the influence of previously burned areas on suppression effectiveness and avoided exposure: a case study of the Las Conchas Fire. International Journal of Wildland Fire 25, 167–181.
Quantifying the influence of previously burned areas on suppression effectiveness and avoided exposure: a case study of the Las Conchas Fire.CrossRef | open url image1

Thompson MP, MacGregor DG, Calkin DE (2016b) Risk management: core principles and practices, and their relevance to wildland fire. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-350.. (Fort Collins, CO)

Thompson MP, Bowden P, Brough A, Scott JH, Gilbertson-Day J, Taylor A, Anderson J, Haas JR (2016c) Application of wildfire risk assessment results to wildfire response planning in the southern Sierra Nevada, California, USA. Forests 7, 64
Application of wildfire risk assessment results to wildfire response planning in the southern Sierra Nevada, California, USA.CrossRef | open url image1

Tillery AC, Haas JR, Miller LW, Scott JH, Thompson MP (2014) Potential post-wildfire debris-flow hazards – a pre-wildfire evaluation for the Sandia and Manzano Mountains and surrounding areas, central New Mexico: US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–516110.3133/SIR20145161

Venn TJ, Calkin DE (2011) Accommodating non-market values in evaluation of wildfire management in the United States: challenges and opportunities. International Journal of Wildland Fire 20, 327–339.
Accommodating non-market values in evaluation of wildfire management in the United States: challenges and opportunities.CrossRef | open url image1

Vogler K, Ager A, Day M, Jennings M, Bailey J (2015) Prioritization of forest restoration projects: trade-offs between wildfire protection, ecological restoration and economic objectives. Forests 6, 4403–4420.
Prioritization of forest restoration projects: trade-offs between wildfire protection, ecological restoration and economic objectives.CrossRef | open url image1

Warziniack T, Thompson M (2013) Wildfire risk and optimal investments in watershed protection. Western Economics Forum 12, 19–28.

Wibbenmeyer MJ, Hand MS, Calkin DE, Venn TJ, Thompson MP (2013) Risk preferences in strategic wildfire decision making: a choice experiment with US wildfire managers. Risk Analysis 33, 1021–1037.
Risk preferences in strategic wildfire decision making: a choice experiment with US wildfire managers.CrossRef | open url image1

Williams BK (2011) Adaptive management of natural resources – framework and issues. Journal of Environmental Management 92, 1346–1353.
Adaptive management of natural resources – framework and issues.CrossRef | open url image1

Williams J (2013) Exploring the onset of high-impact mega-fires through a forest land management prism. Forest Ecology and Management 294, 4–10.
Exploring the onset of high-impact mega-fires through a forest land management prism.CrossRef | open url image1

Wilson RS, Winter PL, Maguire LA, Ascher T (2011) Managing wildfire events: risk-based decision-making among a group of federal fire managers. Risk Analysis 31, 805–818.
Managing wildfire events: risk-based decision-making among a group of federal fire managers.CrossRef | open url image1

Yoder J, Gebert K (2012) An econometric model for ex ante prediction of wildfire suppression costs. Journal of Forest Economics 18, 76–89.
An econometric model for ex ante prediction of wildfire suppression costs.CrossRef | open url image1

Yoe C (2011) ‘Primer on risk analysis: decision making under uncertainty.’ (Taylor & Francis: Boca Raton, FL)

Zimmerman T (2012) Wildland fire management decision-making. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology B 2, 169–178.



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