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National Priority Maps

Map 1. National Priorities for Broad Scale Fuels Management

National  Priorities for Broad Scale Fuels Management map.

National prioritization of areas for broad-scale fuels management (as distinct from hazard reduction in proximity to structures) suggests a primary emphasis in the West and Southeast (see above). These included counties with the highest level of wildfire, fire-adapted native vegetation, and communities concentrated within a broader wildland landscape. Each location would use the mix of options most suitable for local conditions.

General Guidance for Vegetation and Fuels

  • Where wildfires are unwanted or threaten communities and homes, design and prioritize fuel treatments to reduce fire intensity, structure ignition and extent.
  • Where allowed and feasible, manage wildfire resources objectives and ecological purposes to restore and maintain fire-adapted ecosystems and achieve fire-resilient landscapes.
  • Use and expand fuel treatments involving mechanical, biological, or chemical methods where economically feasible and sustainable, and where they align with landowner objectives.

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Map 2. National Priorities for Community Planning and Coordination

National Priorities for Community Planning and Coordination map.

Candidate counties for national prioritization of community and individual homeowner action would include those described above, tempered by features of each landscape class. Counties characterized by higher-than-average annual area burned, structures lost, and homes exposed within the WUI (especially in the West, South, and Southeast) were assigned the highest priority for community action.

General Guidance for Homes, Communities, and Values at Risk

  • Promote community and homeowner involvement in planning and implementing actions to mitigate the risk posed by wildfire.
  • Emphasize proactive wildfire risk mitigation actions.
  • Pursue municipal, county, and state building and zoning codes and ordinances that mitigate fire risk to protect life and property from wildfire.

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Map 3. National Priorities for Managing Human-Caused Ignitions

National Priorities for Managing Human-Caused Ignitions map.

Managing Human-caused Ignitions

The available data on human-caused ignitions and their consequences identifies counties where human-caused ignitions dominate and lead to above-average area burned or buildings impacted by wildfires. These data suggest a prioritization that would target many eastern counties and populous western counties.

General Guidance for Human-caused Ignitions

  • Emphasize programs and activities that prevent human-caused ignitions, whether accidental or incendiary, where these ignitions, combined with high levels of area burned, suggest the greatest need. Programs should be tailored to meet identified local needs.

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Map 4. Intersection of the Large, Long-Duration Wildfire Potential with the Opportunities Map For Managing Wildfires for Resource Objectives

Intersection of the Large, Long-Duration Wildfire Potential with the Opportunities Map For Managing Wildfires for Resource Objectives.

Effective and Efficient Wildfire Response

The composite five-color map shows areas with relatively low likelihood of experiencing large fires (white areas on map), areas with moderate likelihood of large wildfires combined with beneficial use potential (light yellow), and areas with high likelihood of large wildfires combined with beneficial use potential (gold). The purpose of figure above is not to dictate the response or resource management objectives for all large or long-duration wildfires in these counties. All wildfires have to be managed in the specific context and locations in which they occur to ensure environmental issues and local conditions are addressed. Rather, the intent to suggest that there are significant areas where greater flexibility in the management of large wildfires might be used.

Conversely, there are broad areas where the resource benefits from large or long-duration wildfires are likely outweighed by other concerns. One key to being able to use greater flexibility is the ability to anticipate or quickly assess the risk posed from an individual event. Ironically, the current suppression capacity in some areas is inversely proportional to the likelihood of a wildfire creating positive ecological benefits. That is, organizations as a whole are most effective at controlling wildfires that are likely to be beneficial, and least able to contain those wildfires that are likely to be most damaging. The net result is that we may be extinguishing many fires with the greatest potential for good. Enhanced, rapid risk assessment tools that help inform incident response decisions could be highly beneficial in this context.

General Guidance for Effective and Efficient Wildland Fire Response

  • Enhance wildfire response preparedness in areas more likely to experience large, long-duration wildfires.
  • Enhance wildfire response preparedness in areas experiencing high rates of structure loss per area burned.
  • At the community level, emphasize both structure protection and wildfire prevention to enhance the effectiveness of initial response.

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Last modified: Monday March 17 2014