System available for southerners to inquire about their wildfire risk

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Wildfire Risk Assessment map

The Southern Group of State Foresters has developed a resource for landowners that can help them determine the amount of risk they face from potential wildfires. At the web site, residents of 12 states can zoom in and click on their place of interest to determine the potential fire intensity under high to extreme weather conditions.

Here is the Southern Group of State Foresters’ description of the system:

In response to increasing demand for more accurate and up-to-date wildfire risk information across the South, the SGSF embarked on a wildfire risk assessment for the entire South, completing the project in 2005. The goal of the Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment (SWRA) project was to provide a consistent, comparable set of scientific results to be used as a foundation for wildfire mitigation and prevention planning in Southern states. The SWRA data has been in use since and some individual states have undertaken updates in recent years. Continued enhancement and updates for the entire South are planned in the near future to reflect changes in the landscape that have occurred since the original SWRA completion.

Needing a way to deliver the information quickly and seamlessly to stakeholders, SGSF has recently developed the Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (SouthWRAP), building upon the success of the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal (TxWRAP). SouthWRAP is the primary mechanism by which SGSF is creating awareness among the public and arming state and local government planners with information to support mitigation and prevention efforts. SouthWRAP contains data for 12 Southern states, excluding Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, that did not participate in the initial SWRA project. Future updates hope to include all SGSF members.

Note that Texas information is also not available within SouthWRAP, as the TxWRAP site provides access to their updated wildfire risk assessment data. However, some data updates have occurred for other states that are available in SouthWRAP. This includes Florida, which incorporates their 2010 assessment update, and Oklahoma, which incorporates their 2012 fuels and canopy mapping updates.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.