ArcFuels: Integrating Wildfire Models and Risk Analysis into Landscape Fuels Management

TitleArcFuels: Integrating Wildfire Models and Risk Analysis into Landscape Fuels Management
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2009
Series TitleFire Science Brief
Document NumberIssue 43
Date Published02/2009
InstitutionJoint Fire Science Program
Keywordsjfsp fire science briefs and digests, risk assessment and analysis

That risk from wildfire continues to grow across the United States is not a new problem. Managing forest fuels in the real world—such as thinning and burning prescriptively—to reduce fuel loads have been used effectively to reduce the risk of severe wildfire. These actions have been helped by a variety of software tools that assist managers in planning and evaluating fuel treatments to ensure they are cost effective in terms of impeding the growth of future large, severe wildfires. While many landscape planning tools do a fine job within the scope of their capabilities, the process of fine tuning fuel management plans requires that users interact with large cumbersome databases and complex wildfire behavior models. The streamlined approach for modeling wildfire and planning fuel treatments on large landscapes developed in this study integrates fire behavior modeling and data processing tasks into a framework. This frameworkprovides rapid assessment of wildfire risk and the potential effects of fuel management activities. The total picture of a particular scenario includes not only the predicted change in fire behavior, but also the change in likelihood of a fire, and resulting change in specific highly valued resources. Read further to learn about ArcFuels.Key Findings

  • ArcFuels, designed by the team, is a system that integrates a number of important fire behavior and vegetation models, geographic information systems, and desktop computer programs. It quickly and easily offers an approach for simulating, in real time, the effects of treatment plans.
  • ArcFuels helps users enhance programs like FlamMap to calculate the potential effect of fuel treatments on burn probability and risk in terms of financial and ecologic value. This process offers a concrete measure of both wildfire benefits and damage that planners and landowners can use in fuels management plans.