A Colorado dashboard seeks to put a price on future wildfires, other natural disasters amid a warming climate | VailDaily.com
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A Colorado dashboard seeks to put a price on future wildfires, other natural disasters amid a warming climate

As Colorado experiences a record-breaking wildfire season amid accelerating population growth and statewide drought, many are asking: How can we be resilient in the face of inevitable disaster?

It’s a dense question. To find an answer, the Colorado Water Conservation Board teamed up with the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and a handful of other state agencies to create the Future Avoidance Cost Explorer. The Federal Emergency Management Agency joined the effort as part of its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and contracting company Lynker helped with data analysis as well as creating an interactive website. Just a year after the project started, the technical report and the website were published this spring.

Also known as FACE:Hazards, the dashboard explores the economic cost of natural hazards under a variety of different potential scenarios as they might look in 2050. Users can explore varying degrees of climate change and population growth, dive into the economics of one specific economic sector like agriculture or recreation, differences between geographic regions, and peruse the impacts different programs have on disaster resilience.

A screenshot from the FACE:Hazards dashboard. This particular model analyzes the economic impact of wildfire based on a moderately warmer climate and medium population growth.
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The price tags estimated for these scenarios are likely lower than they would be in real life, according to Megan Holcomb, senior climate specialist at the Colorado Water Conservation Board and technical lead for the project. This is in large part due to incomplete data; not every county collects the same degree of data on the same economic sectors, for example, so the project could only do analysis when data from every county lined up. Additionally, the data is at a county-level scale, so while it gives a good picture of the state as a whole, cities and towns will need their own assessments for better accuracy.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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