High-severity wildfire potential – associating meteorology, climate, resource demand and wildfire activity with preparedness levels

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National and regional preparedness level (PL) designations support decisions about wildfire risk management. Such decisions occur across the fire season and influence pre-positioning of resources in areas of greatest fire potential, recall of personnel from off-duty status, requests for back-up resources from other areas, responses to requests to share resources with other regions during fire events, and decisions about fuel treatment and risk reduction, such as prescribed burning. In this paper, we assess the association between PLs assigned at national and regional (Northwest) scales and a set of predictors including meteorological and climate variables, wildfire activity and the mobilisation and allocation levels of fire suppression resources. To better understand the implicit weighting applied to these factors in setting PLs, we discern the qualitative and quantitative factors associated with PL designations by statistical analysis of the historical record of PLs across a range of conditions. Our analysis constitutes an important step towards efforts to forecast PLs and to support the future projection and anticipation of firefighting resource demand, thereby aiding wildfire risk management, planning and preparedness.

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