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Yu Wei, Matthew P. Thompson, Joe H. Scott, Christopher D. O'Connor, Christopher J. Dunn
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Management Approaches
Risk assessment

NRFSN number: 19301
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In this study, we aim to advance the optimization of daily large fire containment strategies for ground-based suppression resources by leveraging fire risk assessment results commonly used by fire managers in the western USA. We begin from an existing decision framework that spatially overlays fire risk assessment results with pre-identified potential wildland fire operational delineations (PODs), and then clusters PODs into a response POD (rPOD) using a mixed integer program (MIP) model to minimize expected loss. We improve and expand upon this decision framework through enhanced fire modeling integration and refined analysis of probabilistic and time-sensitive information. Specifically, we expand the set of data inputs to include raster layers of simulated burn probability, flame length probability, fire arrival time, and expected net value change, all calculated using a common set of stochastic weather forecasts and landscape data. Furthermore, we develop a secondary optimization model that, for a given optimal rPOD, dictates the timing of fire line construction activities to ensure completion of containment line prior to fire arrival along specific rPOD edges. The set of management decisions considered includes assignment of PODs to be included in the rPOD, assignment of suppression resources to protect susceptible structures within the rPOD, and assignment of suppression resources to construct fire lines, on specific days, along the perimeter of the rPOD. We explore how fire manager risk preferences regarding firefighter safety affect optimal rPOD characteristics, and use a simple decision tree to display multiple solutions and support rapid assessment of alternatives. We base our test cases on the FSPro simulation of the 2017 Sliderock Fire that burned on the Lolo National Forest in Montana, USA. The overarching goal of this research is to generate operationally relevant decision support that can best balance the benefits and losses from wildfire and the cost from responding to wildfire.


Wei Y, Thompson MP, Scott JH, O’Connor CD, Dunn CJ. 2019. Designing Operationally Relevant Daily Large Fire Containment Strategies Using Risk Assessment Results. Forests 10(4), 311.

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