Colorado Forest Service Launches County-by-County Wildfire Risk Index

September 1, 2020

The Colorado State Forest Service has launched a wildland-urban interface risk index.

The county-by-county index uses housing density combined with modeled fire behavior to determine where the greatest potential impact to people and homes is likely to occur.

The index for each county is presented as an infographic to provide a simplified, accessible overview of the various levels of wildfire risk for residents living in the wildland-urban interface in that county. The index is intended to increase awareness of wildfire risk, particularly in counties with a significant amount of its population located in the WUI.

The documents containing the infographics are available in a PDF format through the Colorado Forest Atlas at coloradoforestatlas.org. The public can access and download the documents for each of the 64 counties in Colorado through a drop-down menu available in the Wildfire Risk Viewer application within the Colorado Forest Atlas. The example shows the document with the risk index infographic for Mesa County.

The CSFS and its partners hope the tool will help initiate and raise awareness of wildfire risk and direct residents to available resources that support risk reduction actions.

“Every homeowner should be aware of the wildfire risk in their community and the associated responsibility to reduce that risk, not only to protect their property, but also to improve the safety of first responders,” said CSFS Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Daniel Beveridge. “There are numerous examples from the past few seasons showing that proactive wildfire mitigation efforts are effective and now is a perfect time for people across the state to take action.”

Wildfire experts and key stakeholder organizations and professionals across the state offer a diverse range of resources and recommendations to help Colorado citizens prepare for and respond to wildfires, including:

The National Fire Protection Association offers research and of downloadable fact sheets, brochures, checklists and visuals to help residents understand wildfire threats and the steps needed to help protect homes. For more information and access to NFPA tools, visit https://www.nfpa.org/.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Association provides downloadable tools, templates and education for homeowners, including home inventory checklists, wildfire prevention tips and evacuation planning tools at www.rmiia.org/index.asp.

The Colorado Association of Realtors in cooperation with wildfire and insurance industry experts offers a consumer-focused Colorado Property and Insurance Wildfire Preparedness Guide featuring best practices in wildfire mitigation, defensible space, safety and insurance preparation for property owners, frequently asked questions and direct links to a wide range of local community resources for residents. The guide is available at ColoradoProjectWildfire.com.

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