Wildland fire management is evidence based when policies and actions are based on the best available science integrated with the expertise of experienced fire and land managers. Evidence-based fire management is supported by:
Practice-Based Research - Research questions are developed from information needs identified by fire managers and policy makers. Researchers and fire science users collaborate in the design and conduct of research targeting applied problems.
Systematic Reviews - "A systematic review is a "literature review" focused on a single question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesize all high quality research evidence relevant to that question." (Wikipedia 21 August 2008)
Narrative Reseach Syntheses - These are reviews of the best available research and scientific theory targeting fire management and policy topics. While the systematic review attempts to include all the relevant reseach, literaure reviews may select only the best studies to synthesize. Narrative reviews may include a wider range of types of evidence than found in individual systematic reviews. Methods of synthesizing the results are frequently less systematic in narrative reviews.
Practical Guidelines - The results of systematic reviews and narrative research syntheses are integrated with the practical experience of fire managers to produce state-of-the-art recommendations for best fire management practices. The degree of confidence fire science users can place in each recommendation is described based on the quality and practical relevance of the combined findings of available research.
Effective Knowledge Exchange - Evidence-based science utilization programs assume that applied knowledge is co-created by researchers and science users. The problem of science utilization is not solved by one-way communication of research results from scientists to fire science users. Consequently a system is needed to facilitate regular communication among scientists and fire science users to direct the path of research and incorporate research knowledge into practice quickly and effectively.
Useful Tools and Products - Fire science doesn't really make a difference to firefighter and public safety, property protection, ecosystem restoration, large fire cost management, or any of the other key management concerns until it is applied by managers and policy makers. To apply research knowledge managers need tools and guidelines that are easy to find, understand, and use. Information by itself is less helpful.
Occasionally individual research papers will be reviewed and the results applied to fire management or policy problems. These are presented under "Featured Research" on the home page. The main 'products' offered are research syntheses and reviews, Recommendations for Best Practices, and tools and documents to facilitate the implementation of fire science if fire management.
Annotated bibliographies and reading lists
Quick reference guides
Communication and collaboration among managers and scientists is a hallmark of the HDFSS site and FRAMES. To facilitate communication, users can ask for advice from a scientist on a problem or issue. Scientists and managers can ask questions of managers and policy makers. This is done by completing the contact form and selecting the subject 'Ask-a-Scientist' or 'Ask-a-Manager'
Users can also request the preparation of bibliographies and literature or systematic reviews. Help with the design of monitoring and evaluation studies is also available. Managers can also request assistance with the preparation of requests for proposals for contract research, monitoring, and evaluation services. A fee is required for most of these services.
Researchers will find the site a valuable source of information to guide applied research programs. Periodically, lists of current research questions will be developed from the communications between managers and scientists. As needed, research needs assessment papers will be prepared and posted.
Contact Us. Include your contact information if you are willing to discuss the topic and the kind of information managers need with people who might develop your product. Those discussions are very helpful.
Funding for the development of the site and initial content came from the FRAMES project at the University of Idaho and the US Forest Service Northern Research Station. Continuing support will be provided by sponsors from among the wildland fire management agencies, non-government organizations, private foundations, and commercial firms with fire management interests. A list of sponsors is included on the HDFSS Partners page. Funding sources for individual reviews and products are listed on those products.
A team of fire scientists and fire managers is formed to prepare a review and develop the practical guidelines and other documents and tools used to help managers apply the results. Scientists may come from universities or federal and non-government research organizations. Fire managers may come from federal, state, local, and tribal fire management agencies and organizations.
There is a companion site to HDFSS on FRAMES where researchers and managers collaborate in the development of products that are made available to users through the HDFSS site. Many of the reviews and other tools were prepared by other organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and university research stations, often for purposes other than fire management. These have been adapted to fire management by teams of scientists and fire managers and are offered to fire science users with the permission of the original authors or publishers.
If you are interested in working on the development of reviews and other products and materials to support HDFSS, use the contact form to contact Dr. Hodgson. Choose the subject line "HDFSS Teams." Dr. Hodgson will contact you to discuss opportunities.