Exploring Use of Climate Information in Wildland Fire Management: A Decision Calendar Study

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We conducted surveys of fire and fuels managers at local, regional, and national levels to gain insights into decision processes and information flows in wildfire management. Survey results in the form of fire managers' decision calendars show how climate information needs vary seasonally, over space, and through the organizational network, and help determine optimal points for introducing climate information and forecasts into decision processes. We identified opportunities to use climate information in fire management, including seasonal to interannual climate forecasts at all organizational levels, to improve the targeting of fuels treatments and prescribed burns, the positioning and movement of initial attack resources, and staffing and budgeting decisions. Longer-term (5–10 years) outlooks also could be useful at the national level in setting budget and research priorities. We discuss these opportunities and examine the kinds of organizational changes that could facilitate effective use of existing climate information and climate forecast capabilities.

Keywords: climate; forecasts; western United States; wildfire management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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