Good decisions for good fire management
Wildland fire complexity and challenges are intensifying due in part to recent trends in shifting land use situations, fuel complex alterations, ecosystem health-induced changes in vegetation structure and composition, and fire response capabilities. Wildfire decisions have critical impacts and directly influence the strategies selected, tactics implemented, placement of firefighting resources, levels of firefighter exposure, costs expended, and the environmental effects. Decisions are needed in compressed timeframes, and comprehensive risk-informed decisions are not possible without assessments of risk.
The Rocky Mountain Research Station's Wildland Fire Management Research, Development and Application program is developing the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) to incorporate emerging science and technology into decision documentation, decision analysis, and long-term planning and implementation. WFDSS bundles together analytical tools that rapidly analyze information, help to reduce uncertainty, and support response decisions. It contains multiple risk assessment processes, ranging from rapid qualitative methods to more detailed quantitative analysis procedures that provide information commensurate with shifting complexity levels. The development and application of this comprehensive decision support system greatly enhances the U.S. wildland fire management program. WFDSS is currently in use by all five federal wildland fire management agencies.
Additional information on the Wildland Decision Support System (WFDSS) can be found at http://wfdss.usgs.gov/wfdss/WFDSS_Home.shtml. Learn more about the Wildland fire Management Research, Development and Application program at http://www.wfmrda.nwcg.gov.