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Individual Highlight

Improving the Deployment of Wildland Fire Suppression Resources

Photo of Wildfire control in Georgia forest. Georgia Forestry Commission Archive, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.orgWildfire control in Georgia forest. Georgia Forestry Commission Archive, Georgia Forestry Commission, Bugwood.orgSnapshot : While managers typically aim to minimize the number of escaped fires, they have limited funds to acquire suppression resources or construct operating bases. A new computer model developed by Forest Service scientists helps managers evaluate and improve equipment and crew deployment by optimizing both seasonal deployment and daily dispatch decisions with an objective of minimizing the number of fire ignitions that do not receive a standard response subject to funding and capacity constraints. A standard response is defined as the required number of resources that must reach a fire within a maximum response time.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Haight, Robert G. 
Research Location : Georgia, Minnesota
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 497

Summary

As a strategy for mitigating the size and costs of wildfires, fire managers prioritize aggressive initial attack of fire ignitions, especially in places where people live and fire intensity may be high. Managers make best estimates of where to have equipment and crews on the ready to meet expected demand for fire suppression during the upcoming season. Although managers typically aim to minimize the number of escaped fires, they have limited funds to acquire suppression resources or construct operating bases. Forest Service scientists developed a computer model to help fire managers plan ahead. This model optimizes both seasonal deployment and daily dispatch decisions with an objective of minimizing the number of fires that do not receive a standard response. The model was evaluated by assessing the deployment of fire suppression resources among three central Sierra planning units administered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE). There, findings suggest that, at current levels of equipment and staff, there is no need for major rethinking of deployment processes, and that there is a lot of flexibility available. With additional capacity, increasing centralized equipment and staff could be an effective approach.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Jeremy S. Fried, PNW Research Station, Portland, OR
  • Yohan Lee & Heidi J. Albers, Oregon State University, Corvallis

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