Fire, Vol. 6, Pages 215: Towards an Integrated Approach to Wildfire Risk Assessment: When, Where, What and How May the Landscapes Burn
Juan R. Molina
Ana I. Miranda
Ioannis Z. Gitas
M. Lucrecia Pettinari
This paper presents a review of concepts related to wildfire risk assessment, including the determination of fire ignition and propagation (fire danger), the extent to which fire may spatially overlap with valued assets (exposure), and the potential losses and resilience to those losses (vulnerability). This is followed by a brief discussion of how these concepts can be integrated and connected to mitigation and adaptation efforts. We then review operational fire risk systems in place in various parts of the world. Finally, we propose an integrated fire risk system being developed under the FirEUrisk European project, as an example of how the different risk components (including danger, exposure and vulnerability) can be generated and combined into synthetic risk indices to provide a more comprehensive wildfire risk assessment, but also to consider where and on what variables reduction efforts should be stressed and to envisage policies to be better adapted to future fire regimes. Climate and socio-economic changes entail that wildfires are becoming even more a critical environmental hazard; extreme fires are observed in many areas of the world that regularly experience fire, yet fire activity is also increasing in areas where wildfires were previously rare. To mitigate the negative impacts of fire, those responsible for managing risk must leverage the information available through the risk assessment process, along with an improved understanding on how the various components of risk can be targeted to improve and optimize the many strategies for mitigation and adaptation to an increasing fire risk.
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