Workshop #7 – How to generate, interpret and apply landscape-scale hazard and risk assessment results
Instructors: Joe H. Scott, Wildfire Science Consultant, Pyrologix LLC; Julie Gilbertson-Day, Wildfire GIS Analyst, Pyrologix LLC and James Menakis, Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service
The wildland fire risk assessment process has been utilized at multiple scales to address different land management questions by USDA Forest Service, Department of Interior land management agencies, and state agencies. While most land managers consider the wildland fire risk assessment a product that is used strictly by fire and fuel specialists, the actual use of the assessment has much greater application for land and resource planning and implementation. This workshop is targeted for resource managers to develop a better understanding of the wildland fire risk assessment processes and how it can be used in resource management decisions and planning.
This workshop will first introduce managers to the wildland fire risk assessment concept and methodology for developing an assessment. Second, it will demonstrate the application of the wildland fire risk assessment at multiple scales (national to local) focusing on resource management issues. And third, it will show the benefits of incorporating the wildland fire risk assessment into land management plans and forest plan revisions. By the end of the workshop resource managers will have a solid understanding of how to accomplish a wildland fire risk assessment and why it’s directly important to their land management planning and implementation.
A landscape-level wildfire hazard assessment entails four main steps. First, we identify the study area, fire occurrence areas (FOAs) and fire modeling landscape area required to assess hazard for the specific land management unit under assessment. Next we summarize historical wildfire occurrence within the FOAs to ensure that sufficient fire occurrence data exist within each FOA, and then summarize historical fire weather within each FOA. Armed with knowledge of historical weather, we can now acquire, critique, update and edit fuel and vegetation data (from the LANDFIRE program, for example). This step produces an up-to-date fuelscape for use in simulation models that generate detailed spatial information on wildfire likelihood and intensity, as well as other fire behavior variables such as type of fire, crown fraction burned, flame length, etc.
Objectives: The workshop objectives are to:
- Introduce resource managers to the wildland fire risk assessment process
- Outline the major steps for completing a landscape-scale assessment of wildfire hazard
- Describe the required skills and level of effort for completing the assessment
- Describe the intermediate and final products generated by the assessment
- Describe how those products are used on their own and in quantitative wildfire risk assessment
- Show the benefits of incorporating the wildland fire risk assessment into land management plans and forest plan revisions
Note: Participants should bring their own laptops.