Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fire Risk Map

This is Part IV in a series of articles on Wildfires in the desert region of Gold Butte in North Eastern Clark County, NV. 

To read Part I click the following link: Defining the Study Area:
To read Part II click the following link: Defining the Study Area:
To read Part III click the following link: Defining the Study Area:
To read Part IV click the following link: Defining the Study Area:

Fire Risk Indicator
The goal of this research was to assess the Gold Butte region for risk of fire. To create this model, I used geospatial data available on the internet from various government agencies, to create a model to calculate risk. I used the fire perimeter data available from the BLM’s website to create my sample area. I used Soil, Geology, Landform, and two different vegetation datasets to analyze the area within Gold Butte that has already experienced a wild fire event to look for clues as to why the fire burned where it did.  

After analyzing the data, I found there were strong colorations between the data and sample area that helped determine why did the fire burn where it did. After these indicators had been determined I developed model to classify the entire study area (Gold Butte region). The results of this model are as follows:
I created a ranking hierarchy that ranged from 1 to 15 with 1 being the lowest risk and 15 being the highest risk of fire.

Classification by Acreage:
1: 73,997.69
2: 48,133.22
3: 28,132.37
4: 31,386.28
5: 13,055.05
6: 16,103.41
7: 12,518.14
8: 38,121.84
9: 24,185.72
10: 14,517.97
11: 18,885.54
12: 37,333.26
13: 16,801.13
14: 36,380.47
15: 24,161.95

Acreage Statistics:
Count:  15
Minimum:           12518.147206
Maximum:          73997.693831
Sum:      433714.117105
Mean:   28914.274474
Standard Deviation:        15924.771133

With this information a person could then more easily determine which area were most at risk for a fire event and determine how to mitigate or better manage those risks. I plan to document the areas that are at most risk which haven’t burned yet so in case of a fire event the pre-fire landscape will be adequately documented.

This is not the end of this project but just another stepping stone to more research and better understanding of wild fires in a desert ecosystem. One interesting byproduct of this study has been to look more closely at the areas that are marked high risk and within close proximity to the fire boundary but yet didn’t burn. In many instances it is plainly clear the role that roads play as natural fire breaks to prevent the fire from spreading even farther within the desert ecosystem. I will continue to post data and information about my findings in researching the Gold Butte region…