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

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2008

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