Monday, 17 November 2003
Using the probability of burning to plan for wildland fire use
We developed a GIS model, BurnPro, to estimate the probability of burning over a landscape. BurnPro estimates the annual probability of burning across the landscape from information on ignitions, rate of spread through fuels, historical weather, topography, and length of the fire season. We used BurnPro to help assess the feasibility of wildland fire use (WFU) for managing fuels and restoring historical fire regimes in 6 wilderness areas and national parks across the United States. Model results were combined with information on the social and ecological risks of fire to help delineate zones within each of the 6 study areas where WFU could be realistically considered. For these WFU zones, we used the probability of burning generated by BurnPro to derive expected fire return intervals and compared these with the fire history for each of the 6 study areas. From this analysis, we have identified where additional ignitions may be needed to restore historical fire frequencies. This information will be used to help managers develop effective fire management plans.