USDA Forest Service
 

Economic Aspects of Forest Management on Public Lands

 
 

Mailing Address:

Forestry Sciences Lab
800 E. Beckwith Ave
Missoula, Montana 59801

(406) 542-4150

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Annual Fire Expenditure Forecasts

Since 1998, RMRS-4802 has provided the Forest Service with forecasts of annual wildland fire suppression expenditures. Over the years, this project has evolved to encompass several related, but separate projects:

1) Current Fiscal Year Fire Season Forecasts: Anti-deficiency regulations compel the Federal agencies responsible for land management to monitor actual and expected emergency fire suppression expenditures to ensure they remain within budgetary authorization. As part of this process, in FY 1998, the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) developed a forecasting tool and process for use by the USDA Forest Service (FS), which makes use of available fire information, year-to-date expenditure information, and forecasts of upcoming fire activity provided by National Interagency Fire Center personnel. In FY 2004, RMRS developed a similar tool for use by the Department of Interior (DOI). This forecasting tool is designed to be used starting in June of each year to provide agency leadership and the Office of Management and Budget with monthly forecasts of total, fiscal year fire suppression expenditures.

Principal Investigator: Krista Gebert
Cooperators: Tom Wordell, Wildland Fire Analyst, Predictive Services, NICC

2) Current Fiscal Year "Early Warning" Forecasts: This is a joint project between researchers at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS-4802) and the Southern Research Station (SRS-4851) to provides forecasts of annual Forest Service suppression expenditures in October and March of the current fiscal year. The forecasting system makes use of weather and climate information to predict acres burned and, subsequently, uses those acreage predictions and historical and evolving relationships between acres and other cost trends to predict annual suppression expenditures.

Principal Investigators:
Krista Gebert, RMRS-4802
Jeff Prestemon, SRS-4851
Karen Abt, SRS-4851

Cooperator: Anthony Westerling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

3) Suppression Fund Allocation Model: In 2004, the Strategic Issues Panel on Large Fire Costs was formed to review wildland fire strategies influencing large fire costs and issue recommendations to improve cost containment. One of the panel's seven recommendations was to "increase the level of accountability and interest for large fire costs and their impacts by allocating suppression funds on a regional or equivalent basis." Researchers at RMRS-4802 are cooperating with researchers from the Southern Research Station (SRS-4851) to develop statistical models to aid in meeting this recommendation. Using and refining the models developed for predicting annual suppression expenditures, an analysis of different allocation funding alternatives is being conducted.

Principal Investigators:

Krista Gebert, RMRS-4802
Jeff Prestemon, SRS-4851
Karen Abt, SRS-4851

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