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Dave E. Calkin

Dave E. Calkin
Research Forester
Human Dimensions
800 East Beckwith Avenue
Missoula, MT 59801-5801
United States
Current Research

My research broadly focuses on the application of management sciences to wildland fire and fuels management with specific research interests including: 1) wildland fire risk assessment, 2) collaborative wildfire response planning, 3) suppression effectiveness, 4) risk informed decision making, 5) performance measurement, 6) supression response planning, and 7) decision support system development and application. 

Past Research
My research covers almost all aspects of wildfire management from pre-season fire and fuels planning, incident decision making, and performance measurement to post-fire recovery. I developed and lead the Wildfire Risk Management Science team of interdisciplinary researchers that develop and implement innovative approaches to significant knowledge expansion, new models, and decision support tools that improve the effectiveness of wildfire management.  The team's development and implementation of Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) represents a major advance in the application of science based tools to inform suppression response planning. I was one of the orginal developers of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) and have been the science lead on the Risk Management Assistance (RMA) program since its inception.
Research Interest
My research interests are in exploring how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the wiland fire management system.
Why This Research Is Important
Increasing severity and extent of wildfire is having devastating impacts on natural resources and communities across the globe.  Within the USDA Forest Service, wildfire mangement represents over 60 percent of total dollars spent and significantly impacts the Agency's ability to meet its core goal of caring for the land and the people. A number of challenges restrict our ability to ensure that fire management investments are effective and efficient in reducing loss. Risk assessment tools present opportunities to consistently measure the effectiveness of fire management activities and economic analysis can inform appropriate investment structures to protect both developed and highly valued natural resources.
  • University of Virginia, B.S., Applied Mathematics, 1988
  • University of Montana, M.S., Natural Resource Conservation, 1994
  • Oregon State University, Ph.D., Economics, 2000
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Snag Hazard to Firefighters Persists Long After the Smoke Has Cleared

Year: 2019
A new tool developed through collaboration between USDA Forest Service and Oregon State University researchers tracks treefall through time and may just save lives. The researchers found that snag hazard to fire responders decreased significantly 10-years post-fire, but that in some areas, unsafe co...

Assessing wildfire risk to communities and natural and cultural resources

Year: 2011
Station scientists affiliated with the National Fire Decision Support Center are working closely with the Agency's Western and Eastern Threat Centers to develop novel methods to assess wildfire risk to communities, watersheds, wildlife habitat and developed, natural, and cultural resources.