July 9, 2014
Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) are unveiling a new web tool that will help homeowners and communities determine their wildfire risk – and take measures to mitigate potential hazards.
The Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or SouthWRAP, enables users in Virginia and 12 other southern states to identify wildfire threats based on landscape characteristics, historical fire occurrence, weather conditions and terrain. It also routes users to resources that can help them implement wildfire prevention practices.
SouthWRAP is a web tool that grants public access to risk assessment data that previously hasn’t been readily available, particularly in a user-friendly format. Accessible at the link on the side of the page, the tools are free to use.
“This website will enable homeowners, civic leaders, community planners, elected officials and others to identify the risk wildfire poses to their communities,” said State Forester of Virginia Bettina Ring. “This tool empowers Southerners to be able to better protect their homes and property.”
John Miller, VDOF director of resource protection, said, “This can and should be a ‘pivot point’ for Virginians as they learn what their risks are and how to mitigate them. SouthWRAP is a tool that neighbor can pass on to neighbor – making every community in Virginia a safer place in which to live.”
Professional users, such as civic planners, wildland fire managers and elected officials, can use SouthWRAP to generate a report packaging all the wildfire risk data for their community.