Wildfire poses one of the most complex and pressing challenges in forest resource management today. One challenge is how to assess and characterize the current and future risk of wildfire at various scales. Equally important is how to evaluate and prioritize different wildfire risk management strategies e.g., suppression and rehabilitation approaches, as well as long-term prevention strategies such as fuels treatments. Both risk assessment and risk management, in turn, must consider impacts at different scales and across multiples values. We conducted a coarse-scale spatial analysis of the historical fire regime and current condition of t 10.52 million ha of forest land within a 16.24 million ha study area in South- Central British Columbia. Forest condition was evaluated in terms of deviation from historical fire regimes one indicator of the potential scale of wildfire risk posed by changes in vegetation composition, structure and fuel loading. The analysis was based on existing spatial and non-spatial databases (e.g., forest cover, biogeoclimatic subzones, TRIM, CFS spatial fire history, and cadastral mapping of property and structure values). A wildland urban interface layer was developed as part of the analysis to provide some indication of the relationship between departed forests and human development. We then conducted a case study of the potential costs and benefits of landscape-level fuel treatments in two landscape units Lussier/Coyote and Premier/Diorite encompassing about 100,000 ha near Cranbrook, B.C. The case study is intended to illustrate and test a multi-attribute approach to evaluating and discussing the costs and benefits of fuel treatments. The case study extended the coarse-scale assessment by considering how forest condition might affect the size and severity of wildfires, how wildfire size and severity might affect forest management objectives, and how the landscape might evolve in response to dynamic processes such as forest succession, timber harvesting, wildfire and large-scale fuel treatments. Brad Hawkes et al.
Hawkes, Brad, Blackwell, Bruce Alan; Grey, Bob; Berry, Trent; Ohlson, Dan; Feigl, Franz; Blackwell and Associates Ltd.; Canadian Forest Service; Gray Consulting; Compass Resource Management Ltd.; Forest Ecosystem Solutions Ltd.. 2003. Development of multi-attribute risk assessment and management tools for results-based fire management in British Columbia. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2003MR331