Thoughts on Urban Fires and How We Assess Risk

Our most destructive fires often occur in places most people don’t think of as being ‘wildlands’, but people from Paradise, Santa Rosa, Boulder County, and Lahaina have learned the hard way, living in an urban environment doesn’t mean your place isn’t at risk of burning down. This video talks about the difference between wildfires and urban conflagrations, and shows some simple things homeowners can ‘harden’ their property against both.

The second half of this video is a presentation I gave at the 2022 International Association of Wildland Fire conference on the technical approach used to delineate high-priority areas in the City of Chico for wildfire education and code enforcement. We created high-resolution maps of the urban vegetation and used this data to simulate potential urban fire spread scenarios.

This video has chapters, and you can scroll along the YouTube timeline to see the specific fire you are interested in. If this is hard to do in this page, click on the ‘YouTube’ link in bottom right of the video to see the video in YouTube, and you can navigate the chapter links in the description.

Hop here to all of the 2023 Wildfire Videos.

The Lookout is an independent media company reporting on wildfire, forestry, land management, and rural culture. We are driven by a desire to help people understand how wildfires work, the strategies employed by people attempting to manage them, and the intersection of fire and culture. We are based in Chico, in Northern California. We are 100% user-supported. If you enjoy our content, check out and consider becoming a subscriber.
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