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Project ID: 14-5-01-25

Year: 2014

Date Started: 10/01/2014

Date Completed: 10/11/2017

Title: Spatiotemporal Evaluation of Fuel Treatment and Previous Wildfire Effects on Suppression Costs

Project Proposal Abstract: The proposed project will quantify the effects of hazardous fuels treatments on suppression costs of subsequent wildfires. Spatial econometric models of daily fire suppression costs will be estimated to determine if and to what spatial and temporal extent hazardous fuels treatments and previous wildfires reduced observed wildfire suppression costs for a sample of recent fires that have interacted with previously treated and burned areas. Effects of different fuel treatment types (including wildfire), sizes, and intensities on suppression costs will be estimated for at least 85 fires sampled across different ecosystems (including underrepresented ecosystems). In addition to considering spatial spillovers (autoregression) of suppression costs, we will investigate how time since treatment interacts with other biophysical and environmental factors to influence suppression costs. We will leverage existing datasets on the location, type and intensity of previously treated areas with observed wildfire suppression costs, and use a combination of geospatial analysis and spatial econometric modeling techniques to better understand how hazardous fuels treatments differentially affect wildfire suppression costs. The study results will be highly relevant to managers for comparing expected suppression-cost savings from different fuel treatment scenarios in various ecosystems. This proposal addresses the following two questions and a statement that were highlighted in the FON: 1. How do the costs of implementing various wildland fire suppression strategies compare to fuel treatment costs? 2. What is the expected decay of effectiveness over time following fuel treatments, by vegetation type, by climate conditions and by fuel treatment method and intensity? 3. Evaluate trade-offs among fuels treatment costs and potentially avoided wildfire suppression costs. To evaluate how fuel treatments (including wildfire) affect daily suppression costs, it is essential to have a good understanding what day any given wildfire intersects with a fuel treatment; this is possible by integrating downscaled daily MODIS satellite data or agency generated fire progression maps with daily expenses as reported in I-Suite. Methods developed by Miller and Parks (JFSP Project #12-1-03-19) for quantifying the effectiveness and longevity of wildfire to act as a fuel treatment will also be applied to other treatment types (e.g., intermediate thin), thereby enhancing our ability to evaluate how all treatment types affect fire suppression costs.

Principal Investigator: Helen T. Naughton

Agency/Organization: University of Montana

Branch or Dept: Economics Department

Other Project Collaborators




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


Kevin M. Barnett

University of Montana


Carol L. Miller

Forest Service

RMRS-Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute


Sean A. Parks

Forest Service

RMRS-Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Funding Cooperator

Sean A. Parks

Forest Service

RMRS-Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


Northern Rockies



Southern Rockies







Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print go to website 3749 Journal Article Forests
view or print   7935 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fuel treatment effects on large fire suppression costs
view or print   7934 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Fuel treatments in theory and practice: science applications in support of the Cohesive Strategy
view or print   7933 Poster Encounter rates between fire and fuel treatments in the United States
view or print   7932 Poster Matching Daily Data on Resource Use to Fire Suppression Costs
view or print   7992 Final Report Summary Final Report Summary

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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