New digital resources available for understanding community wildfire risk

Blog Post created by aronanderson Employee on Jun 11, 2020

Wildfire research and technology has advanced significantly over the last few years. Several new tools have been released to help communities and neighborhoods understand, explore, and reduce their wildfire risk; and several of these tools are now live on the interactive Firewise USA map.


Wildfire Risk to Communities –



Launched in April by the USDA Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Wildfire Risk to Communities is the first tool ever to map wildfire risk nationwide. It's designed for wildfire professionals and communities alike and will help you understand your community’s risk.  It also allows you to compare the risk of communities around you. In addition to its interactive maps and charts, it offers great solutions-oriented resources to start reducing your community's risk.


Two New Updated Layers on the Firewise USA Map -

USA Current Wildfires
On the Firewise map, the point and perimeter data set for active wildfires has been updated because of the shutdown of the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination's data feeds. The new data sources come directly from Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information (IRWIN) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). This new layer should perform better than the previous version and is updated every 15 minutes.

You can view this layer on the Firewise USA map the same way you viewed the old USA Current Wildfires layer.  Simply zoom the map to the extent of a State, or closer.


New Thermal Hotspot and Wildfire Detection from VIIRS
Previously, NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) could detect and monitor active fire and burned areas, but its successor, the Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is here and is now live on the Firewise map. VIIRS has several advantages over MODIS when it comes to wildfire detection. It has a higher degree of spatial resolution (375m vs 1km per pixel), greater sensitivity, and updates more frequently.

You can now view the VIIRS Thermal Hotspot and Fire Activity by zooming into the city or county level of an active wildfire on the Firewise USA map.

These new digital resources will help wildfire professionals and communities alike understand their risk and its context. Learn more from these and, of course, review Firewise's home ignition zone resources to put your stronger understanding into local action.

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.


Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog .