Homes & Risk

Wildfires are expensive and dangerous, and defending existing private homes near federal lands already consumes a large portion of wildfire expenses. New building near fire-prone lands will significantly increase future costs and risks.

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San Luis Valley Wildfire Risk

— Explore interactive maps of watersheds, wildfire, and the wildland-urban interface in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

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Austin Wildfire and Vulnerable Populations Tool

— Identify neighborhoods where overlapping wildfire threats and socioeconomic vulnerabilities may make people disproportionately susceptible to wildfire.

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New Montana Homes Increase Wildfire Risks

— The number of western Montana homes in areas with high wildfire hazard has doubled, outpacing development rates in areas with low wildfire hazard.

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Full Community Costs of Wildfire

— Almost half of the full community costs of wildfire are paid for at the local level, including homeowners, businesses, and government agencies.

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DataViz

Communities Threatened by Wildfire, 2000-2017

— The interactive map identifies frequently threatened towns and cities, including the different sizes and distances of wildfires from nearby communities.

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Resilient Taos County: Living with Wildfire

— This story map provides Taos County residents with information about the ecological role of fire, the region’s wildfire risk, forest restoration projects, and emergency preparedness.

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Land Use Planning to Reduce Wildfire Risk

— Case studies show how five urban areas in the West are using innovative land use planning tools to adapt to the increasing risks from wildfires.

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Home Construction in the High Divide

— The High Divide region, recognized as one of the most intact biological areas in the lower 48 states, is attracting many new residents and home construction is changing the landscape.

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wildfire-increasingly-an-urban-issue
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Wildfire Increasingly an Urban Issue

— Wildfires increasingly are threatening urban areas—often repeatedly—putting more homes, lives, infrastructure, and other resources at risk.

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Study Finds No Evidence Firewise Lowers Suppression Costs

— Study finds no evidence of a relationship between wildfire suppression costs and Firewise participation, suggesting policies should focus on other solutions to lower future expenditures, such as preventing development in high risk areas.

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home and approaching wildfire
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Local Responses to Wildfire Risks Are Limited

— This study reviews how western communities are addressing wildfire risk, how they have responded to recent major fires, and useful lessons and public policy insights for the future.

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The Rising Cost of Wildfire Protection

— This report describes how the protection of homes in the Wildland-Urban Interface has added to wildfire costs and concludes with a discussion of solutions that may help control escalating risks and expenses.

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DataViz

As Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Develops, Firefighting Costs Will Soar

— Fighting wildfires costs have averaged more than $3 billion per year, and home protection contributes substantially to this amount. The majority of the WUI in the West is currently undeveloped, but building on these lands will significantly drive up costs.

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California fire
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Northern California, Homes, and Cost of Wildfires

— This Headwaters Economics study analyzes the impact of housing and climate on the costs of fighting forest fires in the twelve national forests of the Sierra Nevada.

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Map showing growth of homes in the Wildland Urban Interface
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Missoula County Homes at Risk in Flood and Wildfire Areas

— These two slideshows and related information use Missoula County and Western Montana to show how many homes have been built in flood and wildfire hazard areas, which are vulnerable to larger and more frequent floods and fires.

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