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Effectiveness of suppression resource utilization

January, 2015

DC-10 dropping retardant. Photo credit: Kari Greer
DC-10 dropping retardant. Photo credit: Kari Greer
The Wildfire Risk Management Team is developing and applying empirically driven models of firefighting resource effectiveness considering resource type, mission objective, and incident characteristics to improve the efficiency of wildfire management.

Specific tasks are designed to improve the ability to:

  • Define, measure, and illustrate attributes of risk-informed, efficient incident management

  • Identify conditions under which wildfire management strategies, tactics, and actions are likely to be cost-effective

  • Identify factors driving incident decision making, including risk attitudes, incentives, institutional arrangements, sociopolitical expectations, and incident characteristics

  • Identify factors driving suppression costs, and to distinguish between those that are and are not within the scope of fire managers’ control

  • Identify more direct linkages between incident decision making, firefighting resource use, and suppression costs

  • Develop and refine empirically driven models of suppression costs to benchmark observed costs and to analyze likely future costs across geographic scales and areas


Stonesifer, Crystal S. ; Thompson, Matthew P. ; Calkin, Dave E. ; McHugh, Charles W. , 2015
Thompson, Matthew P. ; Haas, Jessica R. ; Gilbertson-Day, Julie W. ; Scott, Joe H. ; Langowski, Paul ; Bowne, Elise ; Calkin, Dave E. , 2015
Stonesifer, Crystal S. ; Calkin, Dave E. ; Thompson, Matthew P. ; Kaiden, Jeffrey D. , 2014
Calkin, Dave E. ; Stonesifer, Crystal S. ; Thompson, Matthew P. ; McHugh, Charles W. , 2014


A survey of federal fire managers to characterize perceptions related to resource importance, scarcity, and substitutability by resource type.

Each year, federal fire managers draw from a shared pool of suppression resources to meet highly variable fire suppression demands. Historically, Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS) dispatch reports have been used to track supply and demand, including unmet demand of suppression resources ordered for fire management. We surveyed federal fire managers, operations personnel, and line officers responsible for ordering suppression resources to characterize ordering patterns and perceptions related to resource importance, scarcity, and substitutability. With this survey, we explore how the results affect tradeoff analyses, operational efficiency, and risk management practices in federal fire management.

A link to the survey can be found here.


Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Hari Katuwal - University of Montana
Yu Wei - Colorado State University
Erin Belval - Colorado State University

Research Staff: