HomeOutdoorsNewsCalifornia Fire Marshal Releases First Updated Fire Hazard Map in 15 Years

California Fire Marshal Releases First Updated Fire Hazard Map in 15 Years

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Office of the State Fire Marshal in California has released an updated California wildfire risk map. This is the first of its kind to be created in 15 years, reports note. This map depicts which unincorporated parts of the state are thought to be the most at risk for wildfires. It also predicts what future wildfire destruction is likely to look like.

These Updated California Fire Hazard Maps Will Help Residents Better Prepare For Fire Season

This updated map works to predict the effects wildfires would have in certain areas in the state. It also measures how bad the predicted effects would be during the season. However, the fire hazard map document also serves as an educational tool, experts note, helping residents in these regions to better prepare for the wildfire seasons. All a California fire hazard map user would have to do is enter an address to see how big a risk for wildfire the area is predicted to be.

“[We’ve] been working with stakeholder’s wildfire scientist to build a new model,” notes California Fire Deputy Director Daniel Berlant of the map. The last time this tool was updated was 15 years ago in 2007. And, the Fire Deputy Director says, a lot has changed over the last fifteen years.

“As Californians, we have experienced more devastating fires that, 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have expected to see,” Berlant explains.

“A lot more areas have moved into the very high fire severity zone,” he adds.

A Large Percentage Of Areas Have Since Landed Among The Areas With The Highest Risk

According to the latest reports, as much as 15 % of the identified unincorporated areas in California have moved to the highest risk level over the last 15 years. According to Berlant, the experts have refined and introduced some new science that is related to extreme wind events. The experts behind the updated fire hazard map have also investigated what topography has been part of the worst fires over the years.

Using this information, the map developers were able to determine the probability of wildfire in various areas as well as the destruction this blaze could create. Part of the necessity of these maps is to make sure new communities aren’t built in these very high-risk areas. And, that current communities understand the risks.

 “I built my place in ’72,” notes one resident in the Placer County California area. “Cal Fire has been helping me ever since,” the resident adds. “I think it’s a good idea to update it (the map).”