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Wildfire Risk to Communities

In the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 1625, Section 210), Congress directed the Forest Service to produce a nationwide map that could inform communities about wildfire risk, help them understand their risk profile, and guide them toward steps to reduce their risk. Wildfire Risk to Communities is the Forest Service response to that direction.

As wildfires increase in frequency and severity across the country, Wildfire Risk to Communities is designed to inform the public about wildfire risk and to connect communities with resources to mitigate risk. It includes interactive maps and charts of risk to homes, wildfire exposure types, and wildfire likelihood. This information can help community leaders such as elected officials, community planners, and fire managers understand how risk varies across a state, region, or county and prioritize actions to mitigate risk.

Many of the datasets powering the website were developed by RMRS, in collaboration with private partners. Nationwide modeling data output from the large fire simulation system, FSim, provided critical information on the possible occurrence and intensities of wildfire. This wildfire modeling data was then overlaid on U.S. Census data, which were used to define community locations. Wildfire Risk to Communities is designed so that anyone can access the data. No technical or mapping skills are required, making the website useful for a diverse set of users. Wildfire Risk to Communities is best used for considering risk across a community rather than at the neighborhood or individual home scale.

  • RMRS datasets and simulations provided the analytical foundation for the new Wildfire Risk to Communities website, which enables citizens and community leaders to assess the wildfire risk of their area and find resources to reduce the risk.
  • By providing consistent nationwide coverage of wildfire risk information, the website makes it possible to compare wildfire risk across a state, region, or county, and to prioritize where mitigation work is most needed.
  • The maps and data delivered by this project specifically account for the potential for homes in the Wildland-Urban Interface to be exposed to wildfire by embers and other indirect ignition sources.

https://wildfirerisk.org/

https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/wildfirerisk

https://www.fs.usda.gov/rds/archive/Catalog/RDS-2020-0016

Example Risk to Homes Map

This map integrates wildfire likelihood and intensity with potential wildfire consequences to homes. For everywhere on the landscape it asks, “If a home were here, what would be the risk from wildfire?”

Modified: Sep 25, 2020

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