WWETAC Projects

Project Title: The Wildland Fire Leadership Council’s wildfire risk monitoring project

Status: Ongoing

Principal Investigators: Alan Ager, WWETAC; Dave Calkin and Mark Finney, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula MT; Tom Quigley, METI Corp.  

E-mail Contact: Alan Ager, aager[at]fs.fed.us

Key Issue: This project concerns the development of a nationwide wildfire risk map for the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC).  The project addresses the WFLC Monitoring Question -2.5 – What are the trends and changes in fire hazard on federal lands?  This study also addresses national questions from the Office of Management and Budget, Government Accounting Office, and Congress related to measures that demonstrate effective strategies and investments that reduce fire risk to communities and valued resources.  In this project, the probability of fire and fire intensity will be linked with specific resource benefit and loss functions and maps of highly valued resources.  The results will be used by policy makers, planners and managers as they design and prioritize projects to reduce and manage fire risk.  The project is designed to develop, from a strategic view, a first approximation of how fire probabilities and fire intensities influence important values at the national scale.

Description of Work: A team of Scientists from RMRS and WWETAC have developed a risk assessment protocol for First Approximation of Fire Hazard and Fire Risk.  In this work a formal risk framework was adopted where risk is defined as the product of the burn probability at a given fire intensity and the resulting change in value, summed over all possible fire intensities and values.  This framework requires spatially defined estimates of the likelihood of fire entering an individual area and the expected intensity, and the effects on values (both losses and beneficial fire effects).  The project is using wildfire probability data from the Fire Program Analysis Project.  National data sets on highly valued resource layers were compiled from a number of sources for a range of values that include critical habitat, energy infrastructure, recreation, population density, and other layers.  Benefit loss functions were developed by a science panel to quantify the effect of fire on each of the highly valued resources.

Status: A prototype analysis has been completed for the State of Oregon and was recently published. 

Deliverables and Citations:

  • Maps and tabular outputs describing wildfire risk to highly valued resources in the continental US.
  • A library of spatial data on highly valued resources.

WFLC Fire Risk GeoBrowser Interactive Map

Calkin, D.E, Ager, A.A., Gilbertson-Day, J., eds.  2010. Wildfire risk and hazard: Procedures for the first approximation. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-235. Fort Collins, CO: USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 62 p. 

Project ID: FY08AA49