One of the most difficult tasks in completing a community-wide wildfire hazard assessment can be deciding exactly what should be assessed. Here we provide a science-based approach to assessing wildfire hazards at the structure (home) level. While there are other wildfire hazard assessment approaches out there, this one was designed with the best scientific understanding of how homes burn during wildfires, and focuses on things that homeowners can do to reduce fire hazards.
The assessment form is divided into sections based on specific structure components, for example, the roof, siding, and windows. These sections are on the assessment form in order of the most important component in terms of wildfire protection. For example, the roof section is at the top of the form because the roof is considered to be the most important component in protecting a home from wildfire.
Then, within each section, the questions are also listed in order of priority.Click on any of the components below for a description of the specific questions to be answered and a guide to what to look for (also available in .pdf format in the "downloads" section below):
To view a series of demonstrations that provide further information on structure components and their interactions, please visit our YouTube Channel.
You can rate answers to questions based on the hazard level given for each “yes” answer on the assessment form (for example, answering yes to question R1 yields a “high” hazard rating). If desired, you can also calculate an overall score for each parcel using these guidelines.
Specific materials (all in .pdf format*) you can download include: (before using, you must read the use agreement here)
- The Community Wildfire Hazard Assessment forms (this form is available here as a pdf, but if you are interested in the original file that could be used to create a form for a handheld device, please contact us at firecenter (at) nature dot berkeley dot edu).
- Guidance on creating a ranking system for your assessment.
- A field guide for more in-depth guidance on completing the hazard assessment.
- A series of Frequently Asked Questions and answers about completing the hazard assessment.
- A sample notice that can be used to communicate with homeowners in advance of a community assessment.
- A full user guide that includes all of the documents described above.