Monday, 17 November 2003: 4:15 PM
Applications in fire and fuels planning
Fire regimes and fire regime condition class (FRCC) have become key measures for agency fire program analysis and budget formulation and evaluation. FRCC and associated variables have become critical to fire and fuels planning and provide substantial benefits to program management and decision-making. There are three general levels of FRCC determination that are used for planning. Field procedures are focused at project or landscape level assessment, reporting, and monitoring; and with associated data on fire history, severity, vegetation, and fuels provides the ground truth for coarser scales of assessment. Mid-scale mapping, typically using 30-meter remote sensing and ancillary data mapping 4 to 40 hectare (10 to 100 acre) polygons, provides the fire regime, FRCC, and associated risk and value variables for fire planning analysis, fuels project prioritization and planning, and fire management unit (FMU) assessment. Coarse-scale mapping has used the 1 kilometer (250 acre) remote sensing and ancillary data mapping 5 to 20 kilometer (1250 to 5000 acre) polygons provides the fire regime, FRCC, and associated variables for National scale assessment, program formulation, and prioritization. Agencies have been aggressive in implementation of the coarse-scale findings in formulation of National scale programs and in implementing reporting requirements using field scale assessment. Agencies have recognized the need to move aggressively in the mid-scale planning arena and to implement effective monitoring. As part of the fire planning analysis, land and resource management plans (LMPs, RMPs) are evaluated to assess current condition, define desired condition, identify differences, and strategies to achieve desired conditions. Understanding the baseline reference of the natural (historical) fire regime and FRCC are critical to this basic planning process. In Fire Management Plans (FMPs) agencies are required to develop measures of accomplishment. FRCC has been defined as a national performance measure and will be measured consistently across all agencies. As part of the FMU description the natural (historical) reference conditions (frequency, severity, and vegetation-fuel landscape composition and structure) are assessed along with the historical fire weather, fire season, fuels, FRCC, control problems, values to be protected, and other key fire environment variables. FRCC helps us answer more than the FRCC question. FRCC is valuable in assessing the magnitude of our workload, and strategies and priorities to achieve objectives. FRCC is a key variable for development of collaborative solutions to support sound decision-making.