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Examining dispatching practices for Interagency Hotshot Crews to reduce seasonal travel distance and manage fatigue

Posted date: November 21, 2018
Publication Year: 
2018
Authors: Belval, Erin J.; Calkin, Dave E.; Wei, Yu; Stonesifer, Crystal S.Thompson, Matthew P.; Masarie, Alex
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire. 27: 569-580.

Abstract

Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHCs) are a crucial firefighting suppression resource in the United States. These crews travel substantial distances each year and work long and arduous assignments that can cause accumulated fatigue. Current dispatching practices for these crews are supposed to send the closest resource while adhering to existing fatigue-management policies. In this research, we designed a simulation process that repeatedly implements an optimisation model to assign crews to suppression requests. This study examines the potential effects of using an optimisation approach to shorten seasonal crew travel distances and mitigate fatigue. We also examine the potential benefits of coordinating crew-dispatch decisions to meet multiple requests. Results indicate there is substantial room for improvement in reducing travel distances while still balancing crew fatigue; coordinating crew dispatching for multiple requests can increase the assignment efficiency, particularly when both fatigue mitigation and travel distances are jointly optimised. This research indicates implementing an optimisation model for dispatching IHCs is promising.

Citation

Belval, Erin J.; Calkin, David 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. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 27: 569-580.