Document


Title

Uncertainty and risk in wildland fire management: a review
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): M. P. Thompson; D. E. Calkin
Publication Year: 2011

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • decision support
  • fire danger rating
  • fire management
  • risk assessment
  • uncertainty and risk
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 49625
Tall Timbers Record Number: 26052
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.

Description

Wildland fire management is subject to manifold sources of uncertainty. Beyond the unpredictability of wildfire behavior, uncertainty stems from inaccurate/missing data, limited resource value measures to guide prioritization across fires and resources at risk, and an incomplete scientific understanding of ecological response to fire, of fire behavior response to treatments, and of spatiotemporal dynamics involving disturbance regimes and climate change. This work attempts to systematically align sources of uncertainty with the most appropriate decision support methodologies, in order to facilitate cost-effective, risk-based wildfire planning efforts. We review the state of wildfire risk assessment and management, with a specific focus on uncertainties challenging implementation of integrated risk assessments that consider a suite of human and ecological values. Recent advances in wildfire simulation and geospatial mapping of highly valued resources have enabled robust risk-based analyses to inform planning across a variety of scales, although improvements are needed in fire behavior and ignition occurrence models. A key remaining challenge is a better characterization of non-market resources at risk, both in terms of their response to fire and how society values those resources. Our findings echo earlier literature identifying wildfire effects analysis and value uncertainty as the primary challenges to integrated wildfire risk assessment and wildfire management. We stress the importance of identifying and characterizing uncertainties in order to better quantify and manage them. Leveraging the most appropriate decision support tools can facilitate wildfire risk assessment and ideally improve decision-making. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Citation:
Thompson, M. P., and D. E. Calkin. 2011. Uncertainty and risk in wildland fire management: a review. Journal of Environmental Management, v. 92, no. 8, p. 1895-1909. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.03.015.