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Open AccessArticle

Prototyping a Geospatial Atlas for Wildfire Planning and Management

1
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA
2
Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
3
Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4
Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
5
Pyrologix, LLC, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(9), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11090909
Received: 14 July 2020 / Revised: 12 August 2020 / Accepted: 14 August 2020 / Published: 20 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support System Development of Wildland Fire)
Wildland fire managers are increasingly embracing risk management principles by being more anticipatory, proactive, and “engaging the fire before it starts”. This entails investing in pre-season, cross-boundary, strategic fire response planning with partners and stakeholders to build a shared understanding of wildfire risks and management opportunities. A key innovation in planning is the development of potential operational delineations (PODs), i.e., spatial management units whose boundaries are relevant to fire containment operations (e.g., roads, ridgetops, and fuel transitions), and within which potential fire consequences, suppression opportunities/challenges, and strategic response objectives can be analyzed to inform fire management decision making. As of the summer of 2020, PODs have been developed on more than forty landscapes encompassing National Forest System lands across the western USA, providing utility for planning, communication, mitigation prioritization, and incident response strategy development. Here, we review development of a decision support tool—a POD Atlas—intended to facilitate cross-boundary, collaborative strategic wildfire planning and management by providing high-resolution information on landscape conditions, values at risk, and fire management resource needs for individual PODs. With the atlas, users can rapidly access and assimilate multiple forms of pre-loaded data and analytics in a customizable manner. We prototyped and operationalized this tool in concert with, and for use by, fire managers on several National Forests in the Southern Rocky Mountains of the USA. We present examples, discuss real-world use cases, and highlight opportunities for continued decision support improvement. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk assessment; decision support; fire behavior; modeling; analytics risk assessment; decision support; fire behavior; modeling; analytics
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Thompson, M.P.; Gannon, B.M.; Caggiano, M.D.; O’Connor, C.D.; Brough, A.; Gilbertson-Day, J.W.; Scott, J.H. Prototyping a Geospatial Atlas for Wildfire Planning and Management. Forests 2020, 11, 909.

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