Optimal Allocation of Initial Attack Resources to Multiple Wildfire Events

Optimal Allocation of Initial Attack Resources to Multiple Wildfire Events

D. Rideout Y. Wei A. Kirsch 

Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship, Colorado State University, USA

National Park Service, USA

30 September 2011
| Citation



Increased scrutiny of federally funded programs combined with changes in fire management reflects a demand for new fire program analysis tools. We formulated an integer linear programming (ILP) model for initial attack resource allocation that operates in a performance-based, cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) environment. The model optimizes the deployment of initial attack resources for a user-defined set of fires that a manager would like to be prepared for across alternative budget levels. The model also incorporates fire spread, multiple ignitions, simultaneous ignitions, and monitoring of resources on a landscape. It also evaluates the cost effectiveness of alternate firefighting resources and alternative pre-positioning locations. Fires that escape initial attack are costly during the extended attack phase of fire management. To address this within the scope of initial attack, we constructed and analyzed alternative objective functions that incorporate a proxy for internalizing the cost of fires that escape initial attack. This type of model can provide the basis for a wider scale formulation with the potential to measure an organization’s performance and promote a higher level of accountability and efficiency in fire programs.


fire escape, initial attack, integer linear programming, optimal deployment, performance, wildland fire


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