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Perception of wildfire behaviour potential among Swedish incident commanders, and their fire suppression tactics revealed through tabletop exercises
SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Fire and Safety.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8670-062x
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Fire and Safety.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7222-798x
2023 (English)In: International journal of wildland fire, ISSN 1049-8001, E-ISSN 1448-5516, Vol. 32, p. 320-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background. Swedish wildfires are handled by multipurpose municipal rescue services, raisingquestions about how non-specialist incident commanders (ICs) perceive and interpret wildfirebehaviour. Aims. Elucidating ICs’ interpretations of fire behaviour, fuel complexes, weather,landscape structure and the role of these in tactical decisions. Methods. We exposed SwedishICs to questionnaires and tabletop exercises for different standardised fire scenarios.Key results. Despite minimal formal wildfire training, ICs showed reasonable consensus in ratingof fuels, fire behaviour, hose-lay production rates, etc. Tactics were to access the fire from thenearest road with hose-line laid from the engine and water ferried on trucks. In a scenario whereinitial attack failed, they typically fell back to roads, without burning off. This indicates a fundamental flaw in tactics employed for high-intensity fires, which easily breach forestry roads, and inviteoutflanking. Conclusions. The IC wildfire knowledge is built on personal and group experiencerather than formal education. We found reasonable competence, despite the organisations beingdesigned primarily for other purposes. However, tactical understanding of complex, large incidentswas poor. IC training should emphasise potential hazards of such incidents to enhance groupcompetence despite their low frequency. Implications. Standardised tabletop exercises canprovide insight into decision-making of ICs that is otherwise hidden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 32, p. 320-
Keywords [en]
wildfires tactics supression
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-64218DOI: 10.1071/wf22085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-64218DiVA, id: diva2:1742608
Note

This research was funded by MSB, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the European Commission through Horizon project FirEUrisk, grant no. 101003890. 

Available from: 2023-03-10 Created: 2023-03-10 Last updated: 2024-05-27Bibliographically approved

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Sjöström, JohanVylund, Lotta

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CiteExportLink to record
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