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Project ID: 14-1-01-22

Year: 2014

Date Started: 08/01/2014

Ending Date:  04/01/2018

Title: Assessing fuel management strategies to reduce landscape-level wildfire risk and transmission into urban interfaces

Project Proposal Abstract: Designing effective fuel treatment strategies to achieve the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy (fire resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities, and wildfire response) will require new concepts and tools to deal with the complex, spatial diversity of ecological/fuel conditions and management directions in and around federal tracts of land. Land managers need a systematic approach to stratify landscapes according to management goals, and science-based tools to design and implement landscape fuels treatment programs. The programs must have clear performance metrics that are tied to the goals, and the programs must be linked both within national forests and between public and private lands in order to create a fuels landscape that meets cohesive fire management objectives. The overall objective of this project is to develop fuel treatment strategies that address the main goals of the Cohesive Strategy (CS), and test the effectiveness of strategies on multiple-owner landscapes over time. The work is partitioned into four interrelated objectives as follows: Objective 1: Develop a conceptual fuel treatment taxonomy based on fire management goals and landscape context (biophysical and ownership) that links specific spatial patterns of treatments with fire management objectives. This taxonomy will contribute to a broader understanding of how fire management policies translate into spatial priorities at the project scale. Objective 2: Develop a process to map the different fuel treatment taxa in the context of the CS goals and scenarios. Specifically, we will downscale the CS goals to partition the landscape into land classes that each have an optimal spatial design of fuel management. This work will be performed for the national forests in Region 6 and will result in a prototype downscaling of the Cohesive Strategy in terms of fuel management. Objective 3: Determine the overall feasibility and effectiveness of implementing the various treatment strategies on a 3.3 million ha landscape, with multiple owners and management objectives, diverse fire regimes, and a large number of urban interfaces adjacent to federal lands. Here, we will use wildfire simulation modeling and methods in risk science to evaluate the performance of different fuel treatment strategies among a wide range of treatment scenarios that mimic the CS strategies. Objective 4: Examine the long-term performance of different fuel management scenarios and determine the rate of treatment required to change wildfire area burned and transmission to the urban interface. The temporal modeling will allow us to explore whether fuel management scenarios that appear effective in the short term may have unintended consequences in the longer term, or may be ineffective. We will also be able to examine how fuel management affects the frequency and magnitude of wildfire on different parts of the landscape over time, and how often wildfires encounter fuel treatments. Collectively, the four interrelated study objectives and respective modeling approaches will potentially reveal new approaches for improving the effectiveness of fuel management activities that can be implemented within the context of the Cohesive Strategy.

Principal Investigator: Alan A. Ager

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Ctr

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Vi T. Ta

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

John D. Bailey

Oregon State University


Co-Principal Investigator

Thomas A. Spies

Forest Service

PNW-EPF-Ecological Process & Function-Corvallis

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network










Pacific Coast States


Project Deliverables

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

Supporting Documents

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