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Title: Wildland fire potential: A tool for assessing wildfire risk and fuels management needs

Author: Dillon, Greg; Menakis, James; Fay, Frank;

Date: 2015

Source: In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 60-76.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Federal wildfire managers often want to know, over large landscapes, where wildfires are likely to occur and how intense they may be. To meet this need we developed a map that we call wildland fire potential (WFP) - a raster geospatial product that can help to inform evaluations of wildfire risk or prioritization of fuels management needs across very large spatial scales (millions of acres). Our specific objective with the WFP map was to depict the relative potential for wildfire that would be difficult for suppression resources to contain. To create the 2012 version, we built upon spatial estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity generated in 2012 with the Large Fire Simulation system (FSim) for the national interagency Fire Program Analysis system (FPA), as well as spatial fuels and vegetation data from LANDFIRE 2008 and point locations of fire occurrence from FPA (ca. 1992 – 2010). With these datasets as inputs, we produced an index of WFP for all of the conterminous United States at 885 ft (270 m) resolution. We present the final WFP map in two forms: 1) continuous integer values, and 2) five WFP classes of very low, low, moderate, high, and very high. On its own, WFP is not an explicit map of wildfire threat or risk, but when paired with spatial data depicting highly valued resources and assets such as structures or powerlines, it can approximate relative wildfire risk to those specific resources and assets. WFP is also not a forecast or wildfire outlook for any particular season, as it does not include any information on current or forecasted weather or fuel moisture conditions. It is instead intended for long-term strategic fuels management, and we provide an example of its use within the U.S. Forest Service to date.

Keywords: fire ecology, fire behavior, smoke management, fire management, social and political consequences

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Dillon, Gregory K.; Menakis, James; Fay, Frank. 2015. Wildland fire potential: A tool for assessing wildfire risk and fuels management needs. In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 60-76.

 


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