Matthew P. Thompson, Francisco Rodriguez y Silva, David E. Calkin, Michael S. Hand
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Decisionmaking & Sensemaking
Strategic Risk

NRFSN number: 16145
Record updated: November 8, 2018

Characterizing 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 organize 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 modeling 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 characterize the productivity and effectiveness of suppression actions, integration of ecosystem modeling with economic principles, and stronger adoption of risk and decision analysis within fire management decision-making.


Thompson, Matthew P.; Silva, Francisco Rodriguez y; Calkin, David E.; Hand, Michael S. 2017. A review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 26: 562-573.

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