Application of the Wildfire Risk Assessment Framework

In 2015, FMI analysts continued to be involved with application of a wildfire risk assessment framework developed largely by RMRS scientists from both the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program and the Human Dimensions Program. The risk assessment framework provides a means to assess the potential risk posed by wildfire to specific highly valued resources and assets (HVRAs) across large landscapes. It also provides a scientifically-based foundation for fire managers to think strategically and proactively about how to best manage fire and fuels on their landscapes in a way that integrates with broader land and resource management goals.

At the national scale, Spatial Fire Analyst Greg Dillon continued work on an assessment of wildfire risk across all National Forest System lands in the contiguous U.S. In January 2015 Dillon completed draft calculations of a risk metric called Net Value Change (NVC), but final results are pending completion of new and improved wildfire simulation results.

Interestingly, while providing GIS support to the Northern Rockies Multi-Agency Coordination Group in August, Dillon was able to use the draft national NVC map to demonstrate the potential usefulness of risk assessment products a wildfire incident management and resource prioritization context.

At the local scale, Dillon, along with Fire Behavior Specialist LaWen Hollingsworth and Ecologist Brett Davis, has helped the Lolo National Forest and Bitterroot National Forest make significant progress toward completing risk assessments. In March they helped facilitate a successful workshop with fire managers and resource specialists from both forests to discuss the effects of fire on various resources and assets on the ground. In July, they participated in a workshop led by the TEAMS Enterprise Team to calibrate LANDFIRE fuels data for both forests to improve subsequent wildfire modeling. Lastly, in October, they participated in a series of meetings with fire managers and Forest Leadership Team members from both forests to facilitate the assignment of relative priorities to their resources and assets.

 Also in 2015, FMI analysts, along with others from the RMRS Wildland Fire Management RD&A; Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program; and Human Dimensions Program, presented material at two successful workshops for outreach and information sharing about risk assessment concepts and methods. The first was a Wildfire Risk and Fuel Treatment Analysis Workshop. Held in Missoula in January, this workshop had 38 attendees and an additional 50+ on-line participants, representing all Forest Service Regions, the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Wildland Fire, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. Recordings of all sessions from the 3-day workshop can be found at: The second, held in Missoula in July, was a workshop on synthesizing risk assessment outputs to inform spatial fire planning and Forest Plan revision, attended by approximately 25 people. It was organized by the RMRS Wildland Fire Management RD&A and led by Pacific Southwest Regional Fire Planners. In addition to members of both of those organizations, attendees came from FMI, the RMRS Human Dimensions Program, the TEAMS Enterprise Unit, Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management, the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Wildland Fire, and Pyrologix, LLC.


At the workshop, attendees assessed risk surrounding highly valued resources and assets (HVRA). This information was then synthesized for risk assessment.

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Website for Wildfire Risk and Fuel Treatment Analysis Workshop (includes three recorded presentations from Dillon):