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Project ID: 13-1-03-8

Year: 2013

Date Started: 06/01/2013

Ending Date:  09/30/2016

Title: Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness of Multi-Purpose Fuel Treatments in Western Mixed-Conifer Forests Considering Hazard, Risk, Longevity and Co-Benefits

Project Proposal Abstract: Building on the Inventory and Model-Based Economic Analysis of Mechanical Fuel Treatments chapter in the recently published Comprehensive Guide to Fuel Management Practices for Dry Mixed Conifer Forests in the Northwestern United States, we evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of alternative fuel treatment designs applied to reduce fire hazard from multiple perspectives in a range of dry mixed conifer forest settings. Project design accounts for fuel treatment longevity by considering and comparing the costs and cost-effectiveness of treatment sequences implemented over a multi-decade planning horizon. The project addresses the challenge of rating cost-effectiveness in the context of multiple treatments and land management objectives, and provides a framework for assessing the stand-level effects of fuel treatments on fire suppression costs. We consider, through manager interviews, current and potential treatments that are not currently applied, but which managers find promising, and treatment technologies that have only recently become available. We will consider this research successful if the information provided enables managers to confidently defend their decisions on why, where, when and how a fuel treatment is required, based on the best, objective, scientifically-supported findings. The study melds statistically representative forest inventory sample data, local fuels management expertise, spatially explicit, simulated burn probabilities, and a collection of treatment cost, forest growth, fire hazard and transportation cost models. Results will provide locally usable information on the likely hazard reduction outcomes, cost-effectiveness and feasibility of a variety of mechanical and prescribed fire fuels treatments. Treatments are evaluated over a multi-decade planning horizon for dry mixed conifer forests in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. This suite of models include: 1) BioSum (an integrated system of existing and newly developed models to combine forest inventory data representing an analysis region), 2) an enhanced treatment cost model (FVS-OpCost) , 3) fuel treatment effectiveness logic built upon predictions generated by the FFE-FVS (Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator), and 4) a raw material haul cost model to explore alternative landscape-scale treatment scenarios that achieve a variety of management objectives. Significant contributions that go beyond previously attempted analyses include: " comparison of alternative treatment trajectories with respect to treatment effectiveness, " costs and cost-effectiveness over time (rather than in a single year), " incorporating regional variation in treatment costs, " incorporating new biomass removal technology, " comparing existing regional vs. preferred treatment options, " improving the representation of surface fuels and fuel treatment accomplishments with respect to fire behavior, and " addressing the effects of fuel treatments at stand scale on initial attack success and wildfire suppression costs.

Principal Investigator: Jeremy S. Fried

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-RMA-Resource Monitoring & Assessment-Portland

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Christina T. Bui

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Jeannette M. Connolly

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Theresa (Terrie) B. Jain

Forest Service

RMRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Moscow

Co-Principal Investigator

Robert F. Keefe

University of Idaho

Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences


Russell T. Graham

Forest Service

RMRS-Forest and Woodlands Ecosystem Program

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


Northern Rockies







Interior West



Pacific Coast States


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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