Risk Management and Analytics in Wildfire Response

TitleRisk Management and Analytics in Wildfire Response
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsThompson, MP
Secondary AuthorsWei, Y
Tertiary AuthorsCalkin, DE
Subsidiary Authorsal., et
JournalCurrent Forestry Reports
ISSN2198-6436 (Online)
Keywordsdata science, decision making, operations research, suppression effectiveness, technical reports and journal articles

Purpose of Review

The objectives of this paper are to briefly review basic risk management and analytics concepts, describe their nexus in relation to wildfire response, demonstrate real-world application of analytics to support response decisions and organizational learning, and outline an analytics strategy for the future.

Recent Findings

Analytics can improve decision-making and organizational performance across a variety of areas from sports to business to real-time emergency response. A lack of robust descriptive analytics on wildfire incident response effectiveness is a bottleneck for developing operationally relevant and empirically credible predictive and prescriptive analytics to inform and guide strategic response decisions. Capitalizing on technology such as automated resource tracking and machine learning algorithms can help bridge gaps between monitoring, learning, and data-driven decision-making.


By investing in better collection, documentation, archiving, and analysis of operational data on response effectiveness, fire management organizations can promote systematic learning and provide a better evidence base to support response decisions. We describe an analytics management framework that can provide structure to help deploy analytics within organizations, and provide real-world examples of advanced fire analytics applied in the USA. To fully capitalize on the potential of analytics, organizations may need to catalyze cultural shifts that cultivate stronger appreciation for data-driven decision processes, and develop informed skeptics that effectively balance both judgment and analysis in decision-making.