USDA Forest Service releases community wildfire risk website
April 14, 2020 By US Forest Service
For the first time, community wildfire risk has been mapped nationwide to help community leaders mitigate risk. The USDA Forest Service has announced the free, interactive, easy-to-use website, Wildfire Risk to Communities. This website is designed to help community leaders nationwide understand how wildfire risk varies across a state, region, or county and allow them to prioritize actions to protect their communities.
The forest service is leading the Wildfire Risk to Communities project, as directed by Congress in the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The data within Wildfire Risk to Communities provides a starting point for community leaders and fire experts when assessing and taking steps to reduce risk to homes, businesses and community resources.
Wildfire Risk to Communities provides data through interactive maps and charts showing risk to homes, exposure types, wildfire likelihood and vulnerable populations. Wildfire Risk to Communities also provides vital steps that elected officials, planners and wildfire managers can take to mitigate risk through home hardening, wildfire preparedness, fuel treatments and more.
“This robust tool provides excellent materials for our community members to better understand what they can do to reduce their own risk at home, while also providing county leaders with access to the data and maps we need to ensure our communities are protected,” said Will Smith, senior planner for Wasco County, Oregon.
Wildfire Risk to Communities is designed so that anyone can access the data. No technical or mapping skills are required, making the interactive website useful for a diverse set of users. Geospatial data and tabular data will also be available for download to allow for additional analysis. Wildfire Risk to Communities is best used for considering risk across a community rather than at the neighborhood or individual home scale.
“Wildfire Risk to Communities is an interactive website that the Forest Service is proud to implement,” said USDA Forest Service chief, Vicki Christiansen. “As the challenge of catastrophic wildfires and growing populations converge, we need more cross-boundary, collaborative tools to manage and mitigate risk. This website provides community planners, community leaders and fire managers more information at their fingertips, creating opportunities to better understand, assess and prepare for wildfire risk.”
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