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Planning for future fire: Scenario analysis of an accelerated fuel reduction plan for the western United StatesAuthor(s): Alan A. Ager; Cody R. Evers; Michelle A. Day; Fermin J. Alcasena; Rachel Houtman
Source: Landscape and Urban Planning. 215: 104212.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionRecent fire seasons brought a new fire reality to the western US, and motivated federal agencies to explore scenarios for augmenting current fuel management and forest restoration in areas where fires might threaten critical resources and developed areas. To support this effort, we modeled the scheduling of an accelerated forest and fuel management scenario on 76 western US national forests. Specifically, we modeled a 10-year ramp up of current forest and fuel management that targeted the source of wildfire exposure to developed areas and simulated treatment in areas that accounted for 77% of the predicted exposure. We used a sample of 30 future fire seasons to understand how the plan might be impacted by wildfires and treatment. We found that once fully implemented more than 20% of simulated fires on national forests overlapped fuel treatments, and that roughly 20% of the projects were burned prior to their implementation, suggesting that any plan will undergo significant revision during implementation. Treated areas intersected by wildfire accounted for twice the exposure than non-treated areas that also burned. The study demonstrates the use of scenario planning to design a fuel treatment program that targets wildfire exposure to developed areas, and the methods pave the way for expanded use of scenario planning science to analyze and communicate large scale expansion of current forest and fuel management initiatives.
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CitationAger, Alan A.; Evers, Cody R.; Day, Michelle A.; Alcasena, Fermin J.; Houtman, Rachel. 2021. Planning for future fire: Scenario analysis of an accelerated fuel reduction plan for the western United States. Landscape and Urban Planning. 215: 104212.
Keywordsscenario planning, wildfire uncertainty, wildland urban interface, forest fuel management, wildfire transmission to WUI
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