Framework for quantifying forest wildfire hazard and fuel treatment effectiveness from stands to landscapes
Evaluating the cumulative ability of fuel treatments to change landscape patterns of fire behavior and effects is challenging. By quantifying fire hazard, followed by evaluating outcomes of wildfires on environmental and ecological indicators and social values, it becomes possible to assess how individual fuel treatments placed within the context of a fuel management regime are effective based on desired conditions that address management objectives. This conceptual framework offers a much-needed middle-ground planning, monitoring, and reporting approach between overly simplistic annual reporting summaries of the area treated, number of fires, and burned area and detailed fire simulation modeling outcomes by putting individual treatments and fires in the context of current and desired vegetative conditions and social values. Our fuel treatment effectiveness framework examines the state of fuels through the lens of fire hazard and connects fuels to subsequent fire behavior and effects over time and space. The framework provides a way to focus regional and national fuel management planning efforts toward creating fuel management regimes that increase social and ecological resilience from wildfire.