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Airtanker Flight Distance between Fires: Random Fire Starts on Line Segments

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Under high initial attack fire loads, dispatchers sometimes redirect airtankers that are working on other fires. The inherent variability of flight distance between random fire locations is a potentially important aspect of any model that would reallocate the airtanker resource between fires. Requisite formulas are derived, and computational procedures are provided in this article for the stochastic description of airtanker flight distances between fire-start locations randomly located along straight-line segments. Numerical approximations and comparisons with prior work confirm the results of detailed examples that establish a blueprint for application and continued model development. FOR. SCI. 51(5):460–471.

Keywords: Operations research; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; spatial statistics; transportation planning; travel distance

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Professor College of Forest Resources University of Washington Seattle WA 98195-2100 Phone: (206) 543-1464;, Fax: (206) 685-3091, Email:

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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