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Journal of Combustion
Volume 2011, Article ID 572452, 19 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/572452
Research Article

Integrating Fire Behavior Models and Geospatial Analysis for Wildland Fire Risk Assessment and Fuel Management Planning

1Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 3160 NE 3rd Street, Prineville, OR 97754, USA
2Fire Sciences Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 5775 Highway 10 West, Missoula, MT 59808, USA

Received 1 January 2011; Revised 8 June 2011; Accepted 24 June 2011

Academic Editor: William E. Mell

Copyright © 2011 Alan A. Ager et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Wildland fire risk assessment and fuel management planning on federal lands in the US are complex problems that require state-of-the-art fire behavior modeling and intensive geospatial analyses. Fuel management is a particularly complicated process where the benefits and potential impacts of fuel treatments must be demonstrated in the context of land management goals and public expectations. A number of fire behavior metrics, including fire spread, intensity, likelihood, and ecological risk must be analyzed for multiple treatment alternatives. The effect of treatments on wildfire impacts must be considered at multiple scales. The process is complicated by the lack of data integration among fire behavior models, and weak linkages to geographic information systems, corporate data, and desktop office software. This paper describes our efforts to build a streamlined fuel management planning and risk assessment framework, and an integrated system of tools for designing and testing fuel treatment programs on fire-prone wildlands.