Places where wildfire potential and social vulnerability coincide in the coterminous United States
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): G. Wigtil; R. B. Hammer; J. D. Kline; M. H. Mockrin; S. I. Stewart; D. Roper; V. C. Radeloff
Publication Year: 2016

Cataloging Information

  • environmental hazards
  • fire management
  • population density
  • Socioeconomic Conditions
  • wildfire policy
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 55103
Tall Timbers Record Number: 33018
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - I
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The hazards-of-place model posits that vulnerability to environmental hazards depends on both biophysical and social factors. Biophysical factors determine where wildfire potential is elevated, whereas social factors determine where and how people are affected by wildfire. We evaluated place vulnerability to wildfire hazards in the coterminous US. We developed a social vulnerability index using principal component analysis and evaluated it against existing measures of wildfire potential and wildland-urban interface designations. We created maps showing the coincidence of social vulnerability and wildfire potential to identify places according to their vulnerability to wildfire. We found that places with high wildfire potential have, on average, lower social vulnerability than other places, but nearly 10% of all housing in places with high wildfire potential also exhibits high social vulnerability. We summarised our data by states to evaluate trends at a subnational level. Although some regions, such as the South-east, had more housing in places with high wildfire vulnerability, other regions, such as the upper Midwest, exhibited higher rates of vulnerability than expected. Our results can help to inform wildfire prevention, mitigation and recovery planning, as well as reduce wildfire hazards affecting vulnerable places and populations. Jounral compilation © IAWF 2016

Wigtil, G., R. B. Hammer, J. D. Kline, M. H. Mockrin, S. I. Stewart, D. Roper, and V. C. Radeloff. 2016. Places where wildfire potential and social vulnerability coincide in the coterminous United States. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 25, no. 8, p. 896-908. 10.1071/WF15109.