USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Incorporating project-level analysis and enhanced decision support into the OptFuels fuel treatment planning system for the Lake Tahoe Basin

Principal Investigators:
Greg Jones, USDA Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station
Nate Anderson, USDA Forest Service-Rocky Mountain Research Station
Jody Bramel, Axiom IT Services
Woodam Chung, University of Montana

Proposal [pdf]

Final Report [pdf]

Deliverables are available on OptFuels website

Please contact Dr. Nate Anderson with questions regarding the final report.

Project Summary

A geographic information system-based decision support system, called OptFuels, was developed as part of a SNPLMA-funded project for spatially scheduling forest fuel treatments over multiple planning periods in the Lake Tahoe Basin (P034, "Integrated decision support for cost effective fuel treatments under multiple resource goals"). OptFuels combines the vegetation simulation capabilities of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS), the landscape fire behavior modeling functionality of the Minimum Travel Time algorithm in FlamMap (FlamMap-MTT), and a heuristic algorithm for scheduling fuel treatments. This integrated system provides land managers with a streamlined ability to develop spatiotemporal fuel treatment alternatives and assess trade-offs among various alternatives and no action.

Based on feedback from Lake Tahoe Basin managers, the OptFuels team developed a set of objectives for making the system more flexible and user-friendly and for performing project-level analyses. The objectives for the Round 12 phase of the project were to:

  1. Add functionality to OptFuels for users to enter treatment unit polygons with assigned treatments for project alternatives and analyze the effectiveness of those proposed treatments to modify fire behavior and reduce the risk from future wildland fire.
  2. Construct a Lake Tahoe Basin-wide OptFuels database and develop a streamlined process for clipping and building OptFuels models that are tailored to specific planning areas.
  3. Enhance the fuel treatment information provided by OptFuels that can be used in designing projects to meet various forest management objectives.
  4. Enhance the capability of OptFuels to predict wildfire effects on erosion and water quality and on various values at risk both with and without fuel treatments across user-specified fire scenarios.
  5. Deliver the enhanced OptFuels system to end users.