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Forecasting Fire Risk in the Wildland-Urban Interface

Study area (outlined in blue) with National Land Cover Data in the background and fire scars in the foreground (black) simulated for 2001-2050 using downscaled climate data from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model 2.1 for the A2 climate-change scenario.
Study area (outlined in blue) with National Land Cover Data in the
background and fire scars in the foreground (black) simulated for
2001-2050 using downscaled climate data from the Geophysical Fluid
Dynamics Laboratory Climate Model 2.1 for the A2 climate-change
scenario.
Development in the wildland-urban interface has dramatically increased in the western U.S. in recent decades. From a wildfire perspective, this development has increased the number of people and homes at risk and has potentially increased risk by increasing the frequency of human-caused wildfire ignitions. Fire-related impacts are expected to increase substantially over time as development in the WUI continues and climate changes further increases the frequency and area affected by wildfires in the West. Fire management on public lands is largely driven by limiting hazards and risk in and near the WUI. However, public agencies and land managers in the West lack the tools and information required to develop strategies for long-term mitigation and adaptation to wildfire threats. This study aims to develop a modeling framework that will provide tools and information to assist with long-term wildfire risk mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Principal Investigator: Todd Hawbaker, tjhawbaker@usgs.gov, and Steven Garman, slgarman@usgs.gov, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Denver, CO

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