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Project ID: 15-1-06-8

Year: 2015

Date Started: 10/01/2015

Ending Date:  03/31/2019

Title: Fire modeling and social science analysis of fire managers’ use of fire weather data across the US

Project Proposal Abstract: Many fire weather-based tools, such as the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS), are used nationwide to support the full range of strategic (pre-fire and prescribed fire planning) and tactical (initial and extended attack) wildland fire management decisions. However, little is known about which of these tools most heavily impact fire management decisions and even less is known about the sensitivity of those tools to input errors. To address this gap, we combine fire modeling with social science to explore the decisions that fire managers make, how fire weather-based tools are used in that process, which sources of error are the most influential for those tools and how various errors sources could impact decision making. The objective of this project is to addresses four key questions: 1. What strategic and tactical decisions do fire managers make and how are fire models used in these decisions? 2. How sensitive are fire danger and fire behavior tools to various sources of input error? 3. How could model sensitivity impact tipping points that may lead to different fire management decisions? 4. How can we use this knowledge to improve the fire weather-based decision support tools and what are some needed future directions for fire modeling and decision science? This project will be implemented in four phases, each corresponding to the appropriate key question above. Phase One will include exploratory, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key agency personnel. A limited number of surveys will be conducted using standard fire management scenarios to assess potential bias (i.e., risk aversion) and heuristics in decision-making. Phase Two will include a sensitivity analysis of fire danger rating and fire behavior modelling tools to explore how fire weather inputs affect model outputs. This step will address the mostly frequently used tools and data sources that are identified through the exploratory steps in Phase One. Phase Three will include development of strategic (pre-fire planning and prescribed fire) and tactical (initial and extended attack) scenarios based on findings from Phases One and Two and with participatory input from managers (e.g., key interviews and review of drafted scenarios). A choice experiment using the developed scenarios will be conducted with managers on a national level. Phase Four will include synthesis of the results and development of recommendations for improving or changing fire weather tools. Engaging with managers and scientists to implement these changes will occur where possible.

Principal Investigator: Christine S. Olsen

Agency/Organization: Oregon State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Forest Ecosystems & Society


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Budget Contact

Cindy D. Gordon

Forest Service

RMRS-Rocky Mountain Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

William ’Matt’ M. Jolly

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula

Co-Principal Investigator

Eric L. Toman

Ohio State University

School of Environment & Natural Resources-Columbus

Co-Principal Investigator

Robyn S. Wilson

Ohio State University

College of Food, Agriculture & Environmental Science

Funding Cooperator

William ’Matt’ M. Jolly

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula


Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Other


Level

State

Agency

Unit

NATIONAL

MULTIPLE


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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