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Posted on September 4th, 2018

Map Mavin Case Study – Fire Management & Mitigation in Boulder County, Colorado

In this case study, we’ll take a look at how Map Mavin could be used by both fire departments and citizens alike to gain a better and more up-to-date understanding of fire risks and the resources available to mitigate such risk factors.

In Boulder, a city and town on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, open space and dense forest butt up against densely populated urban areas. Fires are common and in fact an integral part of the landscape, but with increasing numbers of people living close to or within the neighboring wilderness, each new fire presents further risk to property and human life. For example, the 2010 Fourmile Canyon fire burned 167 homes (at the time the most destructive fire in state history) and led to an estimated $217 million dollars in damage. With such a high possibility for potentially destructive wildfires in the area, fire officials encourage residents to take steps that can significantly decrease the risks to their homes and land. Trimming trees and shrubs is one of the main priorities, as low-lying shrubs and fallen branches act as the fuel to burn larger trees above them. By reducing the potential fuel on the forest floor, the overall risk for fire is lowered. Still, the actual process of management can be confusing for residents. For one, Boulder County is divided into several fire districts, each responsible for management within their respective zones. Different zones have different drop-off areas at which cleared debris and wood can be left to be processed by the various fire departments.

In the first of our monthly case studies series we take a look at how local fire departments are able to easily and effectively communicate fire information to local communities.

Using Map Mavin, fire officials can make and maintain a map for citizens detailing the different fire districts, the building footprints of structures within them, fire access roads, and wood-chipping centers where cleared material can be brought by local residents. The system allows the fire department to easily add the location of temporary chipping centers to its map and share the information with the public. The public can, in turn, make edits to features such as the outlines of structures on private property, changes to the paths of access roads and driveways and more. As Map Mavin has the option of creating public maps that can be seen without an account and shared with a simple hyperlink, fire departments can publish their maps for the public and not worry about forcing people to sign up for an account or service.

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