- More than 4,200 communities had a wildfire of 100+ acres burn within ten miles of town.
- At least 2,000 communities experienced a major wildfire event (greater than 5,000 acres in size) within ten miles.
- Nearly 400 communities experienced a 100+ acre wildfire that burned less than 700 feet from town.
Wildfires today are larger, burn longer, cause more damage, and kill more people than ever before.
This map tool identifies communities threatened by wildfires from 2000-2014. It also shows the different sizes of wildfires and distances from nearby communities.
As the costs and dangers of wildfires have increased, many groups and communities are working to minimize wildfire risk through education, defensible space around properties, fuel reduction, peer-to-peer learning networks, adoption of land use planning, regulatory tools, and other efforts.
This map tool and sortable data table may be useful in identifying frequently impacted areas for those working to help communities become fire-adapted. It is not a predictive model of wildfire potential or probability.
Measuring Communities Threatened by Wildfires
The map tool shows which communities in the U.S. have had nearby wildfires of more than 100 acres, from 2000 to 2014. Although the map tool displays communities as point locations, distance measurements were calculated using Census Designated Place boundaries from the 2015 TIGER/Line files. Census Designated Places include both incorporated communities, such as cities, towns, and villages, and unincorporated communities.
The map tool analyzes the proximity of communities to wildfires more than 100 acres from the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group, or GeoMAC, “US Historic Wildfire Perimeters” GIS layer. Importantly, the GeoMAC “US Historic Wildfire Perimeters” layer only contains perimeter data submitted by field offices. While GeoMAC makes every effort to provide accurate and complete information there are gaps in coverage, particularly for smaller and less destructive wildfires.
This map tool is not a predictive model of wildfire potential or probability. It is designed only to show where wildfires occurred from 2000-2014 using GeoMAC’s published database with GIS perimeters of wildfires. Not shown are wildfires of less than 100 acres, wildfires that occurred but were not recorded in the data, or wildfires that occurred previous to 2000 or since 2014.
For interested local governments, Headwaters Economics is working with Wildfire Planning International to provide Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW).