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A stochastic programming standard response model for wildfire initial attack planning

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Wildfires are responsible for several civilians deaths and millions of dollars in property losses every year, on average. Wildfire containment is the result of an effectively performed initial attack. We formulate a two-stage stochastic integer programming standard response model for initial attack. The model assumes a known standard response needed to contain a fire of given size. The goal of the model is to contain as many fires as possible while minimizing the fixed rental and travel costs and the expected future operational costs. We report on a study based on district TX12, which is one of the fire planning units of the Texas Forest Service (TFS) in East Texas, involving seven operations bases and up to 28 dozers. We use our methodology to position the dozers based on 30- and 60-min maximum travel time restrictions and evaluate each deployment in terms of the number of fire-fighting resources positioned at each operations base and the expected number of escaped (contained) fires. We also consider deploying additional resources to operations bases that need them the most. The deployments made by our methodology provide several insights and show that the original distribution of resources in TX12 at the time of this study was not optimal. For example, more dozers were initially located at operations bases in areas of low density of fires while fewer dozers were located at bases in areas of high density of fires.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3131 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA. 2: Texas Forest Service, 301 Tarrow Street, Suite 304, College Station, TX 77843, USA.

Publication date: June 8, 2012

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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