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operational research applications in forest and wildland fire management
 
Fire is a natural but often destructive force in many forest ecosystems and it poses many interesting challenges to fire and forest managers and operational researchers that develop fire management decision support systems.
Operational researchers have used location models to determine where to establish fire lookout towers and routing models to determine when  and where to dispatch patrol aircraft to look for fires.  The forest  fire initial attack system is comprised of the fire fighters, trucks,  transport helicopters and water-bombing airtankers that attack fires with the objective of containing and extinguishing them while they are small.  Mathematical programming models have been used to determine  where airtankers should be home-based and the daily operation of  initial attack systems can be modelled as spatial time-dependant  multi-server queueing systems that can be used to help resolve daily  deployment models.  Simulation models have been used to evaluate  airtanker fleet composition alternatives and forest managers use  linear programming models that account for fire when they develop  strategic forest management plans.
I will present a brief overview of a typical Canadian forest fire management system and describe some of the fire management models that  have been developed and implemented and some of the many important challenges that remain.