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Crystal S. Stonesifer


800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-5801
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Featured Publications


Belval, Erin J.; Calkin, Dave E.; Wei, Yu; Stonesifer, Crystal S.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Masarie, Alex, 2018. Examining dispatching practices for Interagency Hotshot Crews to reduce seasonal travel distance and manage fatigue
Thompson, Matthew P.; Lauer, Christopher J.; Calkin, Dave E.; Rieck, Jon; Stonesifer, Crystal S.; Hand, Michael, 2018. Wildfire response performance measurement: Current and future directions
Belval, Erin J.; Wei, Yu; Calkin, Dave E.; Stonesifer, Crystal S.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Tipton, John R., 2017. Studying interregional wildland fire engine assignments for large fire suppression
Wei, Yu; Belval, Erin J.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Calkin, Dave E.; Stonesifer, Crystal S., 2016. A simulation and optimisation procedure to model daily suppression resource transfers during a fire season in Colorado
Preisler, Haiganoush K.; Riley, Karin; Stonesifer, Crystal S.; Calkin, Dave E.; Jolly, William M., 2016. Near-term probabilistic forecast of significant wildfire events for the Western United States
Riley, Karin; Stonesifer, Crystal S.; Calkin, Dave E.; Preisler, Haiganoush, 2015. Assessing predictive services' 7-day fire potential outlook
Each year thousands of wildfires occur within the United States. Increased federal spending on large wildfire management has become a growing concern to Congress, to state and federal agencies, and to the public. The Wildfire Risk Management Team is undertaking a series of empirical studies from recent wildfires that track daily resource use, including aviation and ground-based fire suppression resources, to asses the effects of resource use on wildfire containment under a range of environmental conditions.
The Wildfire Risk Management Team is developing and applying empirically driven models of firefighting resource effectiveness considering resource type, mission objective, and incident characteristics to improve the efficiency of wildfire management. The team surveyed federal fire managers, operations personnel, and line officers responsible for ordering suppression resources to characterize ordering patterns and perceptions related to resource importance, scarcity, and substitutability. With this survey, researchers explore how the results affect tradeoff analyses, operational efficiency, and risk management practices in federal fire management.
The cost and cost effectiveness of wildfire suppression efforts have recently been scrutinized due to increased suppression expenditures in the United States. This scrutiny has resulted in increased pressure to balance the costs, benefits, and risks of wildland fire management. The Wildfire Risk Management Team is using econometric modeling to empirically examine various aspects of wildland fire management expenditures such as identifying and examining factors related to suppression expenditures, and analyzing trends to better forecast suppression expenditures.
In 2015, the cost of large fire management expenditures exceeded the allocated budget by over $700 million USD. Despite the scale of investment, little is known about how suppression resources affect large fire containment, and there remains considerable variation among fires in their relative costs. The Wildfire Risk Management Team is exploring economic issues related to cost and effectiveness of using suppression resources to manage wildland fires.
The Wildfire Risk Management Team is an interdisciplinary team that explores wildfire management through the lenses of risk analysis, economics, decision science, and landscape ecology to improve the scientific basis for the full range of wildfire management decisions. Primary research topics include integrated spatial risk assessment modeling and planning, econometric modeling of fire management expenditures, effectiveness of suppression resource utilization, organizational structure and managerial incentive systems, and performance measurement.

National Strategic Program Areas: 
Wildland Fire and Fuels
National Priority Research Areas: 
Forest Disturbances
RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Human Dimensions