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Wildfire: Fire Risk Map

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Use these buttons to watch the map overlay reflect the change in area burned over time.
  • Click the Play button to begin the animation.
  • Click the Toggle button to alternate between the beginning and end of the available years. The beginning year displays temperature averages projected into the past, and the end year displays temperature averages projected into the future.
  • Use the Slider to control the speed of the animation.
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The timeline displays which decade you are currently viewing on the map. You can manually drag the handle to change the year in view.
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The Legend displays the range of values visible on the map overlay for the variable being displayed (temperature degrees, inches of rainfall, area burned, etc).
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Tool Charts
Click anywhere on the map to see a chart for this area.

Using the Area Selection Type Menu to the left, edit types of selection areas:

  • grid cells, where each cell is an area of 12km x 12km
  • predefined county boundaries

Then click anywhere on the map to automatically change the area described in the chart.

Select various chart options in the dropdown menus to the right, which can include Month, Model, and Temperature ranges (High, Low, or Average).

Note: The first set of chart options control the variables being viewed on the map.

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Add a Chart for comparison

Click "Add Chart" to create an additional chart to compare with. After creating the new chart, click on a new area of the map to view a chart for the same options in another location. Or change an option in the dropdown menu to view the chart for the same location, with different settings.

To edit the first chart again, either directly edit the dropdown menus, or click on the Location Name and then click on a new location on the map.

Click "Predefined boundaries" in the Area Selection Type Menu to the left before clicking on an area of the map, if you'd like to compare counties to one another.

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Fix the locations of the graphs to one area by clicking this toggle.

Elevation:
Model:

Wildfire

Fire is an important ecosystem disturbance. It promotes vegetation and wildlife diversity, releases nutrients into the soil, and eliminates heavy accumulation of underbrush that can fuel catastrophic fires.

The area projected to be burnt by wildfire toward the end of the century will increase substantially, especially in mountainous areas.

The data in this climate tool display the projected increase in potential area burned given three different climate models and two different scenarios.  Darker oranges and reds suggest up to a 10-fold increase in potential area burned.

Please note that these data are modeled solely on climate projections and do not take landscape and fuel sources into account.  New fire risk projections are currently being produced that take more landscape information into account.

Use the slider bar to the left to visualize the projected increase inarea burned, as seen in the low and higher emissions scenarios. Adjust the options below to view different models.

Take a Tour

Emissions Scenario:

Create a chart by clicking a location on the map and altering one of the dropdown option boxes.

Elevation:
Model:

Create a chart by clicking a location on the map and altering one of the dropdown option boxes.

Disclaimer

This information is being made available for informational purposes only. Users of this information agree by their use to hold blameless the State of California, and its respective officers, employees, agents, contractors, and subcontractors for any liability associated with its use in any form. This work shall not be used to assess actual coastal hazards, insurance requirements, or property values and specifically shall not be used in lieu of Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Uncertainty

The data presented in this tool are projections of future climate. They are not weather predictions and should not be treated as such. Climate projections tell us how weather conditions are likely to change on average, but they cannot predict the weather at a particular day and time. Learn more about what climate models can and cannot tell us.

Although climate models are powerful and effective tools for simulating the climate system, there is some uncertainty inherent in any projection of the future, and climate model projections are no exception. For example, climate model projections illustrate how the climate system is expected to behave under specific scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. Since our emissions of greenhouse gases depend on a variety of different social, political, and economic factors, we cannot be certain how they will change. Therefore, projected climate data may not prove to be accurate if the actual emissions pathway we follow differs from the scenarios used to make the projections.

Another source of uncertainty in climate projections is the fact that different climate models—the tools used to simulate the climate system and produce future climate data—may produce different outcomes. There are more than 30 global climate models developed by climate modeling centers around the world, and they have different ways of representing aspects of the climate system. In addition, some aspects of the climate system are less well understood than others. Climate scientists are constantly working to improve our theories of the climate system and its representation in climate models. In the meantime, one way to account for model differences is to look at projections from many different models to get a range of possible outcomes. You can then take the average of the values across the different models, and this average value is a more likely outcome than the value from any single model. The default visualizations in this Cal-Adapt are based on the average values from a variety of models. Find out more about climate change data.

Climate Tools


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screen shot for the Temperature: Degrees of Change Map tool
icon for the Temperature: Degrees of Change Map tool
screen shot for the Temperature: Monthly Averages Chart tool
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screen shot for the Temperature: Extreme Heat Tool tool
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screen shot for the Snowpack: Decadal Averages Map tool
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screen shot for the Precipitation: Decadal Averages Map tool
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screen shot for the Sea Level Rise: Threatened Areas Map tool
icon for the Sea Level Rise: Threatened Areas Map tool
screen shot for the Wildfire: Fire Risk Map tool
icon for the Wildfire: Fire Risk Map tool

Wildfire: Fire Risk Map

Climate data provided by:

UC Merced

Climate Applications Lab

Data Set Contributed: Fire Risk Data

These data model the ratio of additional fire risk for an area as compared to the expected burned area for each grid cell. The ratio of additional risk was calculated for 30 year averaged periods ending 2020, 2050, and 2085, for four models (CCSM3, GFDL, PCM1, CNRM) and two scenarios (A2, B1). More detailed information about these data can be found in: Westerling, A. L., Bryant, B. P., 2008. Climate Change and Wildfire in California. Climatic Change (2008) 87 (Suppl 1): s231-s249

Related Stories

Climate story photo graphic

Wild Fire

2011 April 12

As climate changes, it appears that summer dryness will begin earlier, last longer and become more intense. These changes may exacerbate fire occurrences, which have historically peaked in late summer and early fall.  If temperatures rise into the medium warming range, the risk of large wildfires in California could increase by as much as 55 percent, which is almost twice the increase expected if temperatures stay in the lower warming range.

Climate story photo graphic

Post-Wildfire Damage Control

2015 April 14

A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Management, "Modeling the impacts of wildfire on runoff and pollutant transport from coastal watersheds to the nearshore environment," examines the effects of post-wildfire runoff and its impact on the environment.

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