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Integrated national-scale assessment of wildfire risk to human and ecological values

Posted date: March 22, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Authors: Thompson, Matthew P.Calkin, Dave E.Finney, Mark A.; Ager, Alan A.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s00477-011-0461-0.

Abstract

The spatial, temporal, and social dimensions of wildfire risk are challenging U.S. federal land management agencies to meet societal needs while maintaining the health of the lands they manage. In this paper we present a quantitative, geospatial wildfire risk assessment tool, developed in response to demands for improved risk-based decision frameworks. The methodology leverages off recent and significant advancements in wildfire simulation models and geospatial data acquisition and management. The tool is intended to facilitate monitoring trends in wildfire risk over time and to develop information useful in prioritizing fuels treatments and mitigation measures. Wildfire risk assessment requires analyzing the likelihood of wildfire by intensity level, and the magnitude of potential beneficial and negative effects to valued resources from fire at different intensity levels. This effort is designed to support strategic planning by systematically portraying how fire likelihood and intensity influence risk to social, economic, and ecological values at the national scale. We present results for the continental United States, analyze high risk areas by geographic region, and examine how risk evaluations changes under different assumptions with sensitivity analysis. We conclude by discussing further potential uses of the tool and research needs.

Citation

Thompson, Matthew P.; Calkin, David E.; Finney, Mark A.; Ager, Alan A.; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W. 2011. Integrated national-scale assessment of wildfire risk to human and ecological values. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s00477-011-0461-0.