The economic benefit of localised, short-term, wildfire-potential information

TitleThe economic benefit of localised, short-term, wildfire-potential information
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRollins, K
Secondary AuthorsChristman, L
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
VolumeOnline early
Keywordsdecision-support, expenditures, management, suppression, technical reports and journal articles, wildland

Wildfire-potential information products are designed to support decisions for prefire staging of movable wildfire suppression resources across geographic locations. We quantify the economic value of these information products by defining their value as the difference between two cases of expected fire-suppression expenditures: one in which daily information about spatial variation in wildfire-potential is used to move fire suppression resources throughout the season, and the other case in which daily information is not used and fire-suppression resources are staged in their home locations all season. We demonstrate the method by constructing a hypothetical wildland management unit calibrated to represent a region typical in the US West. The method uses estimated suppression costs and probabilities of significant fire, as provided by an information service, to estimate expected suppression costs. We analyse differences in expected suppression costs for a range of risk scenarios. Economic savings occur for the majority of risk scenarios. This approach can be used to evaluate investments in wildfire-potential information services, and for assessing the value of investing in new resources.