Over the last several years the US Forest Service has developed a wildland fire risk potential map of the lower 48 states. The specific objective of the wildland fire risk potential map is to depict the potential for wildfire that would be difficult for suppression resources to contain, based on past fire occurrence and estimates of wildfire likelihood and intensity from sophisticated fire simulation models. Areas with higher wildland fire risk potential values, therefore, have a higher probability of experiencing high-intensity fire with torching, crowning, and other forms of extreme fire behavior.
Map 1: Wildfire risk potential version 2013, data origin & source: USDA Forest Service [Click on map to get a better view]
Table 1: Area breakout of the 2013 wildland fire risk potential data [Click on graphs to get a better view]
After discussing this new map with the a US Forest Service Spatial Fire Analyst, Greg Dillon, it became apparent that trying to compare this map with previous versions, namely the 2007 version is not appropriate as the modelling and methodology has evolved considerably since then. Moving forward, baseline comparisons with future wildland fire risk potential map versions is anticipated because a standard approach has been defined.