Canadian Forest Service Publications

Productivity of Ontario initial-attack fire crews: results of an expert-judgement elicitation study. 2004. Hirsch, K.G.; Podur, J.J.; Janser, R.F.; McAlpine, R.S.; Martell, D.L. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34(3): 705-715.

Year: 2004

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24418

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


A structured expert-judgement elicitation technique was used to develop probability distributions for fireline production rates for Ontario's three- and four-person initial-attack crews for seven common fuel types and two distinct levels of fire intensity (i.e., low, 500 kW/m; moderate, 1500 kW/m). A total of 141 crew leaders provided 900 estimates of the minimum, maximum, and most likely (mode) time to construct 610 m (2000 ft) of fireline. This information was used to estimate parameters for beta probability distributions for each individual and scenario. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of the beta-distribution parameters (a and ß) and the three time estimates indicated that fuel type, intensity, crew size, and crew-leader experience all have a statistically significant (p < 0.05) influence on estimated crew productivity. The 28 scenario-specific and 7 aggregated distributions and expected values can be used in many operational fire-management activities (e.g., presuppression planning, initial-attack dispatching, initial-fire assessments) and incorporated into initial-attack containment models. These results also provide baseline data on crew productivity that can be used in larger strategic analyses to gauge the benefits of new fire-suppression equipment and techniques for the entire fire-management program.