A real-time Risk Assessment tool supporting wildland fire decisionmaking

David E. Calkin, Matthew P. Thompson, Mark A. Finney, Kevin D. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Development of appropriate management strategies for escaped wildland fires is complex. Fire managers need the ability to identify, in real time, the likelihood that wildfire will affect valuable developed and natural resources (e.g., private structures, public infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources). These determinations help guide where and when aggressive suppression is required to protect values and when fire may be allowed to burn to enhance ecosystem conditions. This article describes the primary components of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS), a geospatial decision support system developed by the US Forest Service. WFDSS provides state-of-the-art wildfire risk analysis, decision documentation, and long-term implementation planning. In particular, we describe how the two primary decision support analysis components of WFDSS, Fire Spread Probability (fire behavior) and Rapid Assessment of Values at Risk (resource assessment), fit into the current state of risk assessment tools for wildfire suppression decisionmaking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Decision support systems
  • Economics
  • Fire modeling
  • Wildland fire


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