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San Diego State University and University of California Santa Barbara (2013)

Improving Decision Making During Wildland Fire Events

Simons, Nicole E.

Titre : Improving decision making during wildland fire events

Auteur : Simons, Nicole Elizabeth

Université de soutenance : San Diego State University and University of California Santa Barbara

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Geography 2013

Wildland fires continue to be a threat to persons and their property in many parts of the world, particularly in areas characterized as having Mediterranean climates, semi-arid climates, or boreal forests. Throughout the United States the policy on fires has been to extinguish all fires as soon as possible, especially those that are anthropogenically caused and/or threaten people and property. This has led to an accumulation of fuels in wildland areas and the alteration of natural fire regimes. The entities responsible for minimizing the impacts of these events are emergency management organizations (EMOs). In order to efficiently and effectively complete their responsibilities, all EMOs employ a variety of information processing technologies, including among others spatial decision support systems or geographic information systems, during the preparation, response, recovery, and mitigation phases of emergency management.However, EMOs continue to be plagued by issues that influence the effectiveness of their response during a fire event.This research explored the informational needs, data availability, communication flows, and decision making workflows informing fire decision support within current EMOs in order to develop tools that can improve decision making during a wildland fire event. By utilizing a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques, this research identified one of the most prevalent needs among EMO personnel, the need to know what impacts a firebreak has upon an active fire front, explored the relationship between firebreaks and wildland fire behavior, and developed and statistically validated a firebreak probability tool that has been integrated as a part of a wildland fire behavior program. The results demonstrate that by taking into account the needs and limitations of decision makers during an event, valuable information can be obtained that in turn can be used to inform the creation of improved spatial decision support systems used to assist decision makers manage wildland fire events.


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