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Mark A. Finney
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Risk assessment

NRFSN number: 12715
FRAMES RCS number: 4007
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Quantitative fire risk analysis depends on characterizing and combining fire behavior probabilities and effects. Fire behavior probabilities are different from fire occurrence statistics (historic numbers or probabilities of discovered ignitions) because they depend on spatial and temporal factors controlling fire growth. That is, the likelihood of fire burning a specific area is dependent on ignitions occurring off-site and the fuels, topography, weather, and relative fire direction allowing each fire to reach that location. Research is required to compare computational short-cuts that have been proposed for approximating these fire behavior distributions. Fire effects in a risk analysis must also be evaluated on a common scale for the variety of values susceptible to wildland fire. This means that appraisals of fire impacts to human infrastructure and ecological values must be measured by the same currency so that the risk assessment yields a single expectation of fire effects. Ultimately, this will help guide planning and investment into management activities that can alter either the probabilities of damaging fire or the susceptibility to those fire behaviors.


Finney, Mark A. 2005. The challenge of quantitative risk analysis for wildland fire. Forest Ecology and Management 211(1-2): 97-108

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