Fuel Treatments & Effects
Fuel treatments have been widely used as an effective fire management tool to mitigate catastrophic wildland fire risk in forested landscapes. Fire research efforts of the last two decades have significantly advanced fire behavior modeling and fuel treatment effects analysis, but integrated fuel treatment planning and optimization models have yet to be extensively developed and used, mainly due to the complexity of the planning problem. This paper describes the problem complexity in terms of essential considerations when deciding where, when, and how to perform fuel treatments. Previous studies published in mainstream peer-reviewed journals are summarized and identified by their unique contributions, assumptions, and simplifications. Only a handful studies assessed fuel treatment effects in spatial and temporal contexts and incorporated them into the optimization framework. Most of these existing studies introduced optimization approaches as proof of concept with limited applications. It is hoped that future studies will build on these previous efforts and develop more efficient and integrated optimization approaches that can address multiple concerns simultaneously while producing effective fuel treatment plans for field implementation.