Regional Governance and Hazard Information: The Role of Co-ordinated Risk Assessment and Regional Spatial Accounting in Wildfire Hazard Mitigation


With the threat of wildfire hanging over many communities in the Western and Southern United States, wildfire mitigation is evolving into a significant public responsibility for rural and urban edge county governments. Regional governance is an important piece of the effort to reduce wildfire risks although still weakly developed as a policy arena. This project explores two dimensions in which planning support systems can support regional governance: assessing patterns of wildfire risk accumulation; and, evaluating land use planning alternatives and their effects on cumulative risk levels. These tools are examined for regional governance using a prototype planning information system, the Alternative Growth Futures (AGF) tool, a scenario-building approach developed at the University of Colorado Denver. The project develops a hybrid urban growth model that integrates logistic regression techniques and methods for simulation of growth alternatives. This model is used to evaluate the attractiveness of undeveloped building sites with respect to natural amenities, distance to primary urban services and site characteristics such as slope. The model and scenario-testing framework are reasonably robust and suggest that regional spatial accounting methods have potential as a framework for inter-governmental and public discussion around wildfire planning.