This session describes how the interagency Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) developed and assessed the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS) to meet the needs of the wildland fire community for fuel-treatment planning for wildland fire. The past decade saw a dramatic proliferation of software systems intended to help fire and fuels managers. These systems were created by many developers and funded by a variety of sources. The systems were developed without any central control or vision and deployed without a governance process for transitioning developmental or research-grade software applications to operationally ready, supported applications. While this resulted in an increase in problem-solving capability, it also resulted in a fuels management environment with numerous stand-alone tools, system and data access problems, inconsistent fuels management planning, minimal and fragmented security, and ad hoc training. It also resulted in a frustrated fire and fuels management community.
To address this self-described “software chaos,” JFSP worked extensively with users to incorporate a set of existing tools into the IFTDSS using a services-based approach. Prior to the deployment decision, JFSP continued their user outreach by conducting an independent assessment of IFTDSS focused on four key areas: alignment with enterprise architecture guidance, impact of the SOA approach on software development by the community, usability by both novice and expert users, and impact on training and knowledge management. The assessment concluded that IFTDSS could be a major step toward meeting the wildland fire community’s strategic goals if fielded as part of a cohesive governance strategy.