Based on synergistic thinking with regard to climate and proactive fire management, NICC Predictive Services, CLIMAS (University of Arizona), and CEFA (Desert Research Institute) convened the first annual National Seasonal Assessment Workshop (NSAW) to produce preseason fire danger outlooks for each of the 11 predictive services geographic areas. During the week of February 25-28, 2003, climatologists, predictive service units, and fire managers from across the country came together to work on preseason outlooks as part of a process structured to foster communication, share expertise, and enhance understanding of long-range forecasts, climate and fuels conditions.
The tangible products of the NSAW included the following: · Geographic area wildland fire outlook reports · NICC preseason national wildland fire outlook · 2003 consensus climate forecasts for wildland fire management · Standardized protocols for producing long-range fire danger outlooks
The workshop process provided a model and mechanism for increasing organizational capacity, enhancing multiagency collaboration, improving the use of forecast information and climatological analysis, and transitioning the results of research to an operational process for improved communication and decision making. In this paper we review the the design of the workshop, summarize the outcomes to date, and discuss steps necessary to improve regional preseason fire danger outlooks.