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Getting ahead of the wildfire problem: Quantifying and mapping management challenges and opportunities

Posted date: August 10, 2016
Publication Year: 
Authors: O'Connor, Christopher D.Thompson, Matthew P.; Rodriguez y Silva, Francisco
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Geosciences. 6(3): 35.


Wildfire is a global phenomenon that plays a vital role in regulating and maintaining many natural and human-influenced ecosystems but that also poses considerable risks to human populations and infrastructure. Fire managers are charged with balancing the short-term protection of human assets sensitive to fire exposure against the potential long-term benefits that wildfires can provide to natural systems and wildlife populations. The compressed decision timeframes imposed on fire managers during an incident are often insufficient to fully assess a range of fire management options and their respective implications for public and fire responder safety, attainment of land and resource objectives, and future trajectories of hazard and risk. This paper reviews the role of GIS-based assessment and planning to support operational wildfire management decisions, with a focus on recent and emerging research that pre-identifies anthropogenic and biophysical landscape features that can be leveraged to increase the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management operations. We use a case study from the United States to illustrate the development and application of tools that draw from research generated by the global fire management community.


O'Connor, Christopher D.; Thompson, Matthew P.; Rodriguez y Silva, Francisco. 2016. Getting ahead of the wildfire problem: Quantifying and mapping management challenges and opportunities. Geosciences. 6(3): 35.