The WiRē Team has a proven history with implementing a tiered wildfire risk assessment approach to inform wildfire education programs administered through the West Region Wildfire Council and FireWise of Southwest Colorado. This systematic collection of parcel level wildfire risk and social data for an entire community sets the approach apart from other models of wildfire risk assessment.

At the core of our approach are two data collection efforts:

  • A rapid wildfire risk assessment based on attributes related to building materials, vegetation near the home, background fuels and topography, as well as access for the fire department to the parcel. The rapid assessment serves as an indicator of relative risk of parcels within a community rather than an absolute measure of risk.
  • Social surveys of the residents of the assessed parcels to investigate homeowners’ perceptions of wildfire risk, risk mitigation behaviors, and responses to incentives to mitigate risk.

We have created a series of three short illustrative videos that outline the WiRē Team’s innovative approach to helping communities adapt to wildfire. Wildfire is a natural phenomenon, yet learning to live with wildfire is a social issue – so we need a social solution. For more than a decade, the WiRē Team has been refining the process to understand how each community’s path to fire adaptation in unique. The videos, developed with the support of the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, describe The Big Picture, The Process, and The Outcomes of the WiRē Team’s approach.

The Big Picture – “An Innovative Approach to Understanding Communities”

Meet the WiRē team. The first of the three videos in the series introduces the WiRē Team and explains how they are helping communities adapt to wildfire. The WiRē Team’s unique approach unites researchers and wildfire mitigation professionals in collecting community-specific data to tailor programs that support local solutions; allowing communities to get in front of the wildfire problem.

The Process – “Applying the WiRē Approach”

The second video delves into the WiRē Team process of pairing social data from residents living in the wildland urban interface with parcel level wildfire risk data. Using this community specific data, the WiRē team works with local wildfire professionals to understand how programs can be tailored to effectively move local residents to take action to reduce wildfire risk.  

The Outcomes – “Becoming More Fire Adapted Through Better Understanding of the Community”

The final video in the three part series describes how a better understanding of a community can be used to develop more effective wildfire programs.  The WiRē Team’s unique approach helps wildfire educators, mitigation specialists, and others who are working with communities at risk from wildfire tailor their efforts to the specific needs of community residents; resulting in increased fire adaptation.