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Wildland Fire Relative Risk Assessment

The Federal Fire Policy requires that sound risk management be a foundation for all fire management activities. Recent reviews and audits have also stressed the need for risk management. In fact, risk management is rapidly becoming a cornerstone phrase associated with fire management.

A report by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) (2001)," stresses the role of risk reduction in wildlands as a critical mitigation approach to improve community protection." The Government Accountability Office (USGAO 2004) completed a report on risk assessment associated with the fuels treatment program. This report also stresses the importance of risk assessment in fire and fuels management.

All wildland fires present an inherent level of risk, given that we are dealing with a number of unknowns and uncertainty in what the future will bring. The relative risk rating is intended to characterize the general magnitude of risks associated with implementing wildland fire management activities as a snapshot in time. It is an attempt to qualify the level of uncertainty regarding the eventual outcomes of the fire in relationship to the management objectives and other mandates.

As Part B of the Wildland Fire Risk and Complexity Assessment (RCA), the Wildland Fire Relative Risk Assessment provides the Agency Administrator with a quick but comprehensive assessment of the relative risk of the fire. This is a qualitative process that can be completed in less time than a quantitative long-term risk assessment.

In This Chapter

Three Risk Components

Value Assessment

Hazard Assessment

Probability Assessment