Speaker: Todd J. Hawbaker, Research Ecologist, USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Wildfire burned area is increasing, creating challenges for federal agencies to reduce the negative impacts of wildfires on society while balancing their benefits to ecosystems. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provided funding to help address this challenge but directed agencies to prioritize mitigation actions on lands with very high wildfire hazard potential. To help meet monitoring, maintenance, and treatment plan requirements under the BIL, the USGS inventoried existing wildfire hazard and risk assessments and created an interactive web application, or clearinghouse, to navigate the inventory. The inventory and clearinghouse document the variation among assessments and that no assessment perfectly represents all lands or values at risk. They also provide baseline information to evaluate and identify existing hazard and risk assessment gaps. This presentation highlights the inventory and clearinghouse, reviews the existing wildfire hazard and risk assessments, identifies gaps in the assessments, and opportunities to fill those gaps.