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Matthew P. Thompson, David E. Calkin, Joe H. Scott, Michael S. Hand
Year Published:
Karen L. Riley, Peter Webley, Matthew P. Thompson

Cataloging Information

Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Strategic Risk

NRFSN number: 14998
Record updated:

Wildfire risk assessment is increasingly being adopted to support federal wildfire management decisions in the United States. Existing decision support systems, specifically the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS), provide a rich set of probabilistic and risk‐based information to support the management of active wildfire incidents. WFDSS offers a wide range of decision‐support components, including fire behavior modeling, fire weather information, air quality and smoke management, economics, organization assessment, and risk assessment. Here we focus on WFDSS’s provision of probabilistic information and how it can facilitate strategic and tactical decision making. However, the management of active wildfire incidents can be highly complex and subject to multiple uncertainties, only some of which are addressed by WFDSS. We review remaining uncertainties, including identified issues in how fire managers interpret and apply probabilistic information, and conclude with observations and predictions for the future direction of risk‐based wildfire decision support.


Thompson, Matthew; Calkin, David; Scott, Joe H.; Hand, Michael. 2017. Uncertainty and probability in wildfire management decision support: An example from the United States [Chapter 4]. In: Riley, Karin; Webley, Peter; Thompson, Matthew, eds. Natural Hazard Uncertainty Assessment: Modeling and Decision Support, Geophysical Monograph 223 (First Edition). American Geophysical Union. p. 31-41.

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