85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005: 10:45 AM
Exploring Use of Climate Information in Wildland Fire Management: A Decision Calendar Study
Thomas W. Corringham, Univercity of California, San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA; and A. L. Westerling and B. Morehouse
Wildfire management is an institutionally complex process involving a complex budget and appropriations cycle, a variety of objectives, and a set of internal and external political constraints. Significant potential exists for enhancing the use of climate information and long-range climate forecasts in wildland fire management in the Western U.S. Written surveys and interviews of fire and fuels managers at local, regional, and national levels, provide information and insights into the decision processes, information flows, and decision nodes used in wildfire planning and management, and allow the construction of decision calendars showing how climate information needs vary seasonally, over space, and through the organizational network.

Potential exists for fostering use of climate information, including seasonal to interannual climate forecasts at all organizational levels, ultimately opening possibilities for improved targeting of fuels treatments and prescribed burns, more effective positioning and movement of initial attack resources, and improved staffing and budgeting decisions. Longer-term (decadal) forecasts could be useful at the national level in setting budget and research priorities. We examine the kinds of organizational changes that could facilitate effective use of existing climate information and climate forecast capabilities.

This research is supported by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Global Programs.

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