Wildfire Hazard Potential* for the conterminous United States
The wildfire hazard potential (WHP) map is a raster geospatial product produced by the USDA Forest Service, Fire Modeling Institute that can help to inform evaluations of wildfire risk or prioritization of fuels management needs across very large landscapes (millions of acres). Our specific objective with the WHP map is to depict the relative potential for wildfire that would be difficult for suppression resources to contain. To create the 2014 version we built upon spatial estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity generated in 2014 with the Large Fire Simulator (FSim) for the Fire Program Analysis system (FPA), as well as spatial fuels and vegetation data from LANDFIRE 2010 and point locations of fire occurrence from FPA (ca. 1992 - 2012). With these datasets as inputs, we produced an index of WHP for all of the conterminous United States at a 270-meter resolution. We present the WHP map in two forms: 1) continuous integer values, and 2) five WHP classes of very low, low, moderate, high, and very high. Areas mapped with higher WHP values represent fuels with a higher probability of experiencing torching, crowning, and other forms of extreme fire behavior under conducive weather conditions, based primarily on 2010 landscape conditions.
On its own, WHP is not an explicit map of wildfire threat or risk, but when paired with spatial data depicting highly valued resources and assets such as communities, structures, or powerlines, it can approximate relative wildfire risk to those resources and assets. WHP is also not a forecast or wildfire outlook for any particular season, as it does not include any information on current or forecasted weather or fuel moisture conditions. It is instead intended for long-term strategic planning and fuels management.
*Versions of this product prior to 2014 were known as the Wildland Fire Potential (WFP) map.