People’s susceptibility to wildfire is based on their exposure to flames and fuel, but also on their ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a wildfire. Shortsighted and unjust policies have shaped people’s abilities to cope with disasters, making some populations disproportionately vulnerable. Variables such as income, age, mobility, and other socioeconomic factors can influence vulnerability to wildfire impacts.
Knowing where wildfire may have disproportionate impacts can help federal, state, and community leaders direct resources for mitigation and adaptation projects, target and customize education and outreach efforts, and tailor operational plans for evacuation, emergency housing, and recovery strategies. Wildfires are inevitable and will increase in frequency and intensity with a warming climate. Learning to live with wildfire and creating fire-adapted communities is only possible if we anticipate and mitigate its unequal impacts.
The interactive map below lets you filter counties by wildfire risk and demographic characteristics of populations that may be particularly vulnerable to wildfire. A state-level interactive map is also available at the end of this post.