Scott, J. H. 2006. An analytical framework for quantifying wildland fire risk and fuel treatment benefit. In: Andrews, P. L. and Butler, B. W. Fuels Management – How to measure success. Conference Proceedings. 2006, 28030 March; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Ft. Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

ABSTRACT – Federal wildland fire management programs have readily embraced the practice of fuel treatment. Wildland fire risk is quantified as expected annual loss ($ yr-1 or $ yr-1 ac-1). Fire risk at a point on the landscape is a function of the probability of burning at that point, the relative frequency of fire behaviors expected if the point does burn, and the response of various resources to those expected fire behaviors (net value change). The probability of fire burning at any point on the landscape is a function of the spatial arrangement of fuel, weather, topography, and ignition locations surrounding the point of interest, but not characteristics of the point itself. Relative frequency of fire behavior is a function of the local fire environment and the likelihood of burning at various portions of an assumed elliptical fire. Fire loss is assumed to be a function of fire behavior characteristics. Fire behavior can be measured by the Fire Intensity Index (FII), the common logarithm of fireline intensity. A risk reduction treatment is an investment of capital today for a benefit to be reaped in the future. The benefit of a risk reduction treatment is the present value of the difference in risk with and without treatment. Cost is the present value of current year and future treatment expenditures. Fuel treatment benefit-cost ratio is a measure of efficiency; it is one of many factors that inform a fire management decision.

Scott, J. H. 2006. Magnitude and Intensity scales for wildland fire. Contributed oral presentation and extended abstract for the 3rd International Fire Ecology and Management Conference, and journal paper to be submitted in Fall 2006 to the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

ABSTRACT – Quantitative scales of fire magnitude and intensity are needed to assess and publicly communicate the unbiased potential of wildland fire to cause effects—harm, damage, and ecological change. Such scales already exist for earthquakes (Richter Scale and Mercalli Scale), hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Scale), tornadoes (Fujita Scale), and even near-Earth objects (Torino Impact Hazard Scale). This paper describes scaled measures of wildland fire magnitude and intensity based on heat release rate. Wildland fire intensity (I) is the common logarithm of Byram’s fireline intensity (kW m-1); it ranges from 0 to about 5 for high-intensity fires, and is classified into 6 intensity classes. Wildland fire magnitude is the common logarithm of total fire flux (kW); it ranges from 0 to about 9 and is classified into 10 magnitude categories. Suggested procedures for estimating and simulating fire magnitude and intensity are provided.

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