Wildfires are a global phenomenon that in some circumstances can result in human casualties, economic loss, and ecosystem service degradation. In this article we spatially identify wildfire risk transmission pathways and locate the areas of highest exposure of human populations to wildland fires under severe, but not uncommon, weather events. We quantify varying levels of exposure in terms of population potentially affected and tie the exposure back to the spatial source of the risk for the Front Range of Colorado, USA. We use probabilistic fire simulation modeling to address where fire ignitions are most likely to cause the highest impact to human communities, and to explore the role that various landowners play in that transmission of risk. Our results indicated that, given an ignition and the right fire weather conditions, large areas along the Front Range in Colorado could be exposed to wildfires with high potential to impact human populations, and that overall private ignitions have the potential to impact more people than federal ignitions. These results can be used to identify high-priority areas for wildfire risk mitigation using various mitigation tools.
human populated areas
Haas, Jessica R.; Calkin, David E.; Thompson, Matthew P. 2014. Wildfire risk transmission in the Colorado Front Range, USA. Risk Analysis. doi: 10.1111/risa.12270.