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Using Expert Judgment to Model Initial Attack Fire Crew Effectiveness

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An expert judgment elicitation methodology was developed and used to encode subjective assessments of fire crew effectiveness from experienced initial attack crew leaders. During structured individual interviews, experts from four Canadian forest fire management agencies provided assessments of the probability of fire containment (POC) by a "medium" (5- to 7-person) initial attack crew for 35 initial attack scenarios that varied in terms of fire size and head fire intensity. This repeated-measures data was used to develop individual, logistic response curves for 34 of the experts. Analysis of the coefficients of these response curves showed that fire size, fire intensity, and the interaction between size and intensity significantly influenced the POC assessments. Using data for seven ancillary variables concerning the background and experience of the experts, it was found that agency had the greatest influence on the POC estimates. Random coefficient regression modeling was used to develop composite probability of containment models for the entire data set, each agency, and suppression with and without bucketing. For. Sci. 44(4):539-549.
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Keywords: Expert opinion; forest fire suppression modeling; random coefficient regression modeling; repeated measures; response curves

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Earth Sciences Centre, 33 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3B3--Phone: 416-978-6960

Publication date: 1998-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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