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An analysis of forest fire-control standards Kun, Stephen Frank Peter

Abstract

Through the use of standards the fire-control problem can be divided into its many phases, and specifications set for its solution. Fire-control standards fall into two classes, (1) the overall fire-control objective, and (2) standards to be met in attaining that objective. The former, or primary standards, serve to keep the various phases of fire-control at the most economically justifiable level. The latter, or secondary standards, ensure that all fire-control efforts conform with the primary standards. A full schedule of fire-control standards is presented. A system for assessing presuppression and suppression, first presented in 1932, was revised and elaborated for application as a current secondary standard. The principal feature of this system is that certain specifications must be met by the many phases of presuppression and prevention efforts before a numerical rating indicating adequacy is obtained. A different scale of rating should be set up for each fire-control unit, depending on the purposes of forest management and the nature of the fire hazard. Fire-control standards were analyzed from a theoretical point of view and a new primary standard, called the actuarial standard, was developed. Data from three Ranger Districts on Vancouver Island were studied through the actuarial assessment of past fire-control costs and damage, past fire danger, and expected trends. It was found that the actuarial standard was the only one of the three major standards that provided an adequate analysis of the fire-control problem on a given area and produced realistic results. A new secondary standard, called the local incentive standard is also presented. This standard relies on the value of enthusiasm and personal incentive in obtaining good results from fire-control employees. Dealing with burned area, this standard establishes the allowable annual burn by decreasing the past average burned area by 10 per cent each year.

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