The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture faces a future of increasing complexity and risk, pressing financial issues, and the inescapable possibility of loss of human life. These issues are perhaps most acute for wildland fire management, the highest risk activity in which the Forest Service engages. Risk management (RM) has long been put forth as an appropriate approach for addressing fire, and agency-wide adoption of RM principles and practices will be critical to bring about necessary change and improve future decisions. To facilitate more comprehensive adoption of formal RM frameworks, we designed this report as an introduction to RM. We repackaged and repurposed information from the extant RM literature to help readers develop a sound, science-based understanding of RM concepts. A primary intent of the report is to bring coherence and consistency to a topic that the Forest Service and the fire community have been discussing for years. We outline what adoption of RM would look like in practice, and recommend next steps as the Forest Service continues on its RM journey. Ultimately, we hope fostering an improved understanding of RM will lead to higher probabilities of achieving desired outcomes and conditions.
Thompson, Matthew P.; MacGregor, Donald G.; Calkin, David E. 2016. Risk management: Core principles and practices, and their relevance to wildland fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-350. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 29 p.