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Project ID: 17-1-01-4

Year: 2017

Date Started: 07/01/2017

Ending Date:  09/30/2021

Title: Can landscape fuel treatments enhance both protection and resource management objectives?

Project Proposal Abstract: The proposed project aims to improve our understanding of how fuels management can be designed at landscape scales to enhance both protection and resource management objectives. This project will investigate landscape fuel management strategies that best meet the potentially conflicting goals of: 1) minimizing fire exposure to communities; and 2) increasing the opportunities to manage wildfire for its ecological benefits. We will leverage recent advancements in spatial wildfire risk assessment to improve the state of knowledge about the source of exposure and risk to human communities, knowledge which is needed before wildfires can be confidently managed for their resource benefits. The knowledge developed will inform both spatial fire planning and landscape fuel management. Specifically, our objectives are: 1) Develop an approach for evaluating landscape fuel treatment designs for their ability to decrease exposure of homes to wildfire, and their ability to increase opportunities to use wildfire, 2) Compare treatment intensities and spatial patterns of fuels treatments in terms of their ability to reduce home exposure and increase opportunities to use wildfire, 3) evaluate how the effectiveness of different landscape fuel treatment designs varies with proximity to homes, fuel type and fire regime characteristics, and 4) Develop and use a metric based on the analysis of source-exposure that quantifies the opportunity to use wildfire and their ability to increase opportunities to use wildfire. In accomplishing these objectives, we will be able determine whether landscape fuel treatments can be designed to simultaneously meet protection objectives and resource management objectives. We will also be able to determine if treatments are more effective when focused near homes or distributed strategically across the landscape. Our novel study design uses an experimental approach whereby we remove the spatial structure of a single factor while keeping all other factors unchanged, thus allowing us to disentangle the influence that spatial patterns of fuels and spatial patterns of assets can have on estimates of risk and exposure. This study design also enhances our ability to extrapolate research results beyond the case study landscapes.

Principal Investigator: Carol L. Miller

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: RMRS-Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

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

Co-Principal Investigator

Joe H. Scott


Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


Northern Rockies


Southern Rockies









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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