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Bringing it all together: Risk, opportunities, and strategic response

Tonto National Forest Strategic Response Zone Map. The map of strategic response zones is a spatial representation of forest management priorities and direction.
Tonto National Forest Strategic Response Zone Map. The map of strategic response zones is a spatial representation of forest management priorities and direction.
Working with local fire managers, the Atlas of potential control locations can be further refined to a network of best available control features known as Potential Wildfire Operational Delineations or PODs. In areas where negative fire outcomes are likely, PODs should be as small as possible and may include control features that will need to be fortified prior to or during a fire.

Overlaying the network of PODs onto the wildfire risk assessment results allows forest managers to summarize wildfire risk in a way that is operationally relevant. PODs can then be classified into strategic response zones based on the projected outcomes of exposure of prioritized forest resources and assets to fire. PODs with majority positive outcomes are classified as fire maintenance zones. PODs with majority negative outcomes are classified as fire protection zones. PODs with positive fire outcomes under moderate conditions and negative fire outcomes under more severe conditions are classified as fire restoration zones where the right kind of fire can help mitigate future hazards.

On the Tonto National Forest Strategic Response Zone map presented above, two additional zones were introduced to represent 1) vegetation types that burn only when invasive grass species are present; these are classified as excluding zones, and 2) zones of high complexity where control opportunities do not exist to separate parts of the POD with projected positive and negative outcomes from fire. In these PODs, hazardous fuel mitigation treatments could be combined with actions by private lands owners to mitigate negative fire outcomes and move toward more fire adapted communities and ecosystems.

This map serves as a means of tracking progress toward more fire adapted landscapes and as a tool for communicating the realities of fire management among forest staff and resource specialists, out-of-area fire teams, and with landscape partners.