In this project, SIG worked with American Forest Foundation (AFF) to assess existing data and information resources on high wildfire hazard risks on non-industrial private forest lands. They then modeled the potential impacts of those hazards on public goods, such as key water supplies, areas of high carbon sequestration value, and areas of high wildlife habitat importance. The assessment was performed across 11 western states: Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Data used for this project came from the West Wide Wildfire Risk Assessment dataset, a previous assessment of wildfire risk done for AFF, the USDA Forest Service’s Forests to Faucets and Forest Inventory and Analysis data sets, the US Geological Survey’s Public Water Use data set, the National GAP Analysis Program, and the Fish and Wildlife Service Critical Habitat database. All of these datasets were strong, but had gaps around the above issues which needed to be analyzed from a holistic perspective.
The assessment was performed in three phases, each of which built an ArcGIS model that was replicable on a state-by-state basis. The first phase investigated the amount and location of important wood supply lands at risk from wildfire, the second determined the amount and location of important wildlife habitat at risk from wildfire, and the third examined the amount and location of important water supply lands at risk from wildfire. Analyses were broken down by land ownership, including one that looked specifically at non-corporate private forest land. An additional analysis looked at areas of high fire hazard that coincided with areas in need of ecological restoration.
Outputs from the project included Maps and tabular outputs of lands at risk from wildfire, a geodatabase of data going into the maps, easily adjustable ArcGIS models, and a report that described the project datasets, methodology, results and recommendations for future fire risk analyses in the Western States. Many of these analyses were used in AFF’s report entitled “Western Water Threatened by Wildfire,” available at https://www.forestfoundation.org/western-water-forests-report.