A gap analysis of wildland fire response resources in the United States

Agency: Department of Homeland Security via the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE)
Researchers: Medal, H.R. (PI), Gordon, J., Grala, R.K.
Amount: $49,967 ($45,311 Medal share)
Website: CREATE project

This project is the second component of the FY15 CREATE project entitled “Pyro-terrorism risk assessment and management: A pilot study,” which was given development funding. The goal of this pilot study was to determine if there was evidence that pyro-terrorism is a risk deserving of further study. Thus far, we have found that 1) several pieces of evidence indicate that the likelihood of pyro-terrorism in the United States is non-negligible, and 2) the intentional setting of multiple wildfires simultaneously can have a much larger impact than a single wildfire. Our work also brought us into contact with the research of Randy Wilson at the Mississippi Forestry Commission, which demonstrates that 1) several factors indicate pyro-terrorism is a real possibility, and 2) a coordinated pyro-terrorism attack could overwhelm emergency response resources. Due to the evidence that pyro-terrorism is an important risk, we propose to expand upon our original risk assessment by performing a quantitative gap analysis of fire suppression risk. This gap analysis will help analyze the risk of both pyro-terrorism and conventional wildland fires.