West Wide Wildfire Risk Assessment

The Council of Western State Foresters and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) developed a wildfire risk assessment of all lands for the 17 western states and select Pacific Islands - known as the West Wide Wildfire Risk Assessment, or WWA. Three sets of summary statistics were developed using the results of the WWA, including Regional Summary Statistics, State Summary Statistics, and County Risk Reports, as well as maps of wildfire risk demonstrating fire threat and that to key assets - downscaled to the county level. 

The WWA quantified the magnitude of the wildland fire problem in the western U.S. as of 2011, and provides a baseline for planning mitigation activities and monitoring change over time. Numerous maps and datasets were developed in addition to deriving output data describing wildfire threat, fire effects, wildfire risk, and communities risk ratings across the west. The three primary outputs from the risk assessment are the:

  • Fire Risk Index
  • Fire Threat Index
  • Fire Effects Index

The Fire Effects component of the risk assessment involved integrating several datasets to derive a Values Impacted Rating and Suppression Difficulty Rating that are relevant to comprehensive adaptation planning. These ratings identify those areas that have important values that are vulnerable to wildfire, as well as those areas that are difficult or costly to suppress. Five “values that potentially could be impacted by fire,” were included:

  • Drinking Water Importance Areas
  • Forest Assets
  • Infrastructure Assets
  • Riparian Assets
  • Wildland Development Areas (Housing Density) 

 An example of the mapping component of the WWA demonstrating the maps of valuable assets and fire suppression difficulty at the county level: 

The Fire Risk Index is calculated from the Fire Threat Index and the Fire Effects Index. The Fire Effects Index is a composite of these ratings for value impacted assets and fire suppression difficulty, which was combined with the threat assessment to produce comprehensive risk maps - as seen in this example for Jackson County, Oregon: 

 

Publication Date: 2013

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
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Impacts:

  • Wildfires

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