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Title: Predicting Fire Season Severity in the Pacific Northwest

Author: Werth, Paul;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 757-768

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

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Description: Projections of fire season severity that integrate historical weather and fire information can be used by fire managers when making decisions about allocating and prioritizing firefighting resources. They enable fire managers to anticipate fire activity and pre-position resources to maximize public and firefighter safety, reduce environmental impacts, and lower firefighting costs. This research determines the potential severity of fire seasons in the Pacific Northwest by using statistical techniques that correlate weather data and annual-acreage-burned figures for five fire management agencies in Washington and Oregon (U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Oregon Department of Forestry, and Washington Department of Natural Resources). Weather and fire trends for the 1970 to 2004 time period were calculated, and thresholds for above average, average, or below average fire seasons were determined based upon annual acres burned. Eight weather parameters were then correlated using scatter diagrams, contingency tables, and multivariate regression equations to predict above average, average, or below average fire seasons based upon projected acres burned. Results show considerable variance in predictors by fire agency with accuracy rates of 60 to 85% for predictions of above average fire seasons and 85 to 90% for average and below average fire seasons.

Keywords: fire, fire ecology, fuels management, fire season severity, Pacific Northwest, weather parameters, fire seasons

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Werth, Paul 2006. Predicting Fire Season Severity in the Pacific Northwest. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 757-768

 


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