A review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management

TitleA review of challenges to determining and demonstrating efficiency of large fire management
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsThompson, MP
Secondary AuthorsSilva, FRy.
Tertiary AuthorsCalkin, DE
Subsidiary AuthorsHand, MS
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Start Page562
Keywordsdecision analysis, economics, risk, risk assessment and analysis, technical reports and journal articles, uncertainty

Characterising the impacts of wildland fire and fire suppression is critical information for fire management decision-making. Here, we focus on decisions related to the rare larger and longer-duration fire events, where the scope and scale of decision-making can be far broader than initial response efforts, and where determining and demonstrating efficiency of strategies and actions can be particularly troublesome. We organise our review around key decision factors such as context, complexity, alternatives, consequences and uncertainty, and for illustration contrast fire management in Andalusia, Spain, and Montana, USA. Two of the largest knowledge gaps relate to quantifying fire impacts to ecosystem services, and modelling relationships between fire management activities and avoided damages. The relative magnitude of these and other concerns varies with the complexity of the socioecological context in which fire management decisions are made. To conclude our review, we examine topics for future research, including expanded use of the economics toolkit to better characterise the productivity and effectiveness of suppression actions, integration of ecosystem modelling with economic principles, and stronger adoption of risk and decision analysis within fire management decision-making.