Thursday, August 12, 2021

Mapping Wildfire Evacuation Risk

2021 is set to become yet another record breaking year for the number and intensity of wildfires in the United States. As this week's worrying IPCC report on climate change shows the threat from wildfires is likely to increase even further in the very near future. In order to help residents in Oregon and Washington the US Forest Service has released a new interactive map which provides wildfire evacuation vulnerability rankings for 696 rural communities in the two states.

The Wildfire Evacuation Risk for Pacific Northwest Communities interactive map ranks rural villages and towns based on how easy they are to evacuate to escape advancing wildfires. Communities on the map are colored based on the level of wildfire evacuation risk, with the darkest colored communities having the highest risk. If you click on a rural community's marker on the map you can discover its overall wildfire evacuation risk ranking and also 6 individual rankings for the road network vulnerability and the community's vulnerability to wildfire.

All the rankings used on the map are based on how well the town's surrounding road network provides the potential to quickly & safely evacuate, and an assessment of the fire hazard from the surrounding environment. The road network is ranked based on factors such as the the number of paved roads and the variety of road directions providing egress. The fire hazard is ranked based on burn probability and the mean fire-line intensity.

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