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Haley K. Skinner, Susan J. Prichard, Alison Cullen
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire & Climate
Fuel Treatments & Effects
Management Approaches

NRFSN number: 26420
Record updated:

Background: Climate change is a strong contributing factor in the lengthening and intensification of wildfire seasons, with warmer and often drier conditions associated with increasingly severe impacts. Land managers are faced with challenging decisions about how to manage forests, minimize risk of extreme wildfire, and balance competing values at risk, including communities, habitat, air quality, surface drinking water, recreation, and infrastructure. 

Aims: We propose that land managers use decision analytic frameworks to complement existing decision support systems such as the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System. 

Methods: We apply this approach to a fire-prone landscape in eastern Washington State under two proposed landscape treatment alternatives. Through stakeholder engagement, a quantitative wildfire risk assessment, and translating results into probabilistic descriptions of wildfire occurrence (burn probability) and intensity (conditional flame length), we construct a decision tree to explicitly evaluate tradeoffs of treatment alternative outcomes. 

Key Results: We find that while there are slightly more effective localized benefits for treatments involving thinning and prescribed burning, neither of the UWPP’s proposed alternatives are more likely to meaningfully minimize the risk of wildfire impacts at the landscape level. 

Conclusions: This case study demonstrates that a quantitatively informed decision analytic framework can improve land managers’ ability to effectively and explicitly evaluate tradeoffs between treatment alternatives.


Skinner HK, Prichard SJ, and Cullen AC. 2024. Competing Values at Risk: The Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project. Fire 2024, 7(3), 77;

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