Utah Launches Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Utah Department of Natural Resources' newly developed, interactive site —www.utahwildfirerisk.com—allows users to search for and zoom into particular neighborhoods or recreation areas on a statewide map to see the wildfire risk in that zone.

"It's going to change the conversation about wildfires," said state forester Brian Cottam.

The idea behind the map, Cottam said, is prevention. The site pulls in state and federal data to create a "risk assessment portal" where the public can generate a report detailing how to reduce fire danger near homes, such as by removing excess vegetation.

After clicking on a specific area, what the site calls "assess your location," the map pulls up a color-coded indication for the threat. Red patches — indicating the highest risk on the scale that ranges from "very, very low" to "extreme" — currently cover central and southwestern Utah. The algorithm is based on probabilities, Cottam said. Just because an area is red doesn't mean there will be a fire, but it is likely.

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