Three of the past four years have set wildfire records for acres burned, damaged and destroyed structures, and even deaths. To address the increasing risks to life, property, and the environment, the United States Geological Survey released a new strategy to use science, research, and technology to better address fire risks before, during, and after they happen. The Wildland Fire Science Strategy is a fire year plan that will guide USGS research to address the changing needs for the future of wildland firefighting.
Welcome to RedZone, Sarah Stillman – Our new Agile Project Manager!
RedZone is pleased to announce our newest hire, Sarah Stillman, who will be serving as our Agile Project Manager. Read more
2020 was a challenging year with many unprecedented events. The 2020 wildfire season wasn’t an exception with record setting fires across the country. NIFC reported that as of December 23rd, 2020 there had been 57,480 wildfires that have burned 10,357,138 acres. This is almost 4 million more acres burned than the 10-year average and more than double the acreage burned in the 2019 season.
|2020 (1/1/20-12/23/20)||Fires: 57,480||Acres: 10,357,138|
|2019 (1/1/19-12/23/19)||Fires: 49,492||Acres: 4,576,827|
|2018 (1/1/18-12/23/18)||Fires: 55,911||Acres: 8,582,609|
|2017 (1/1/17-12/23/17)||Fires: 65,127||Acres: 9,563,128|
|2016 (1/1/16-12/23/16)||Fires: 62,946||Acres: 5,437,875|
|2015 (1/1/15-12/23/15)||Fires: 60,984||Acres: 9,937,863|
|2014 (1/1/14-12/23/14)||Fires: 63,252||Acres: 3,585,569|
|2013 (1/1/13-12/23/13)||Fires: 46,373||Acres: 4,306,944|
|2012 (1/1/12-12/23/12)||Fires: 67,326||Acres: 9,208,193|
|2011 (1/1/11-12/23/11)||Fires: 72,508||Acres: 8,642,298|
|2010 (1/1/10-12/23/10)||Fires: 68,598||Acres: 3,379,874|
|10-year average Year-to-Date|
|2010-2019||Fires: 61,203||Acres: 6,712,681|
Source: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)
California First to Raise the Alarm
On March 22, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to critical fire weather conditions brought by dry conditions, near record heat, and a mass die-off of trees throughout the state.
Wildfires in California burned a record setting 4.2 million acres with 5 of the states top 20 largest wildfires and 6 of the states most destructive fires occurring this year. The staggering number of acres burned are the most in a single year since CalFire began keeping records, and more than the last three years combined. These wildfires damaged or destroyed approximately 10,500 structures and killed 31 people.
All but one of these record setting fires occurred during the “August Lighting Siege.” Over the course of 72 hours, more than 650 wildfires ignited across Northern California. Of these fires, the lightning caused August Complex became the first “giga fire”, burning over a million acres and shattering the previous record by nearly double the amount of acres burned.
Other States Suffered a Similar Fate
Other states experienced similar wildfire intensity. Almost 700,000 acres burned in Colorado during 2020, including the three largest fires in state history.
The Cameron Peak Fire started on August 13 in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests west of Fort Collins. It became the largest in Colorado’s history after quadrupling in size over Labor Day weekend and making another aggressive run on Oct. 14, burning over 20,000 acres in one day. Before the fire was finally contained it had burned over 208,913 acres.
The East Troublesome Fire, the second-largest blaze in Colorado’s history, moved through some areas at as much as 6,000 acres per hour. The fire eventually consumed 193,812 acres and became the first fire to cross the continental divide.
In Oregon wildfires burned approximately 1 million acres of land, almost double the 10-year average of 557,000 acres. More concerning than the number of acres burned, the second most in state history, was the unprecedented destruction. Only 2 homes were lost to wildfires in Oregon in 2019. In fact over the course of the last 4 wildfire seasons Oregon only lost a combined total of 93 homes. The amount of homes lost in 2020 totaled more than the next 5 most destructive seasons combined, with 4,009 homes lost!
Not to be outdone by its southern neighbor, Washington saw more acres burn in one day than it did in the entirety of the past 12 wildfire seasons. Some 80 fires ignited and burned through nearly 300,000 acres over Labor Day. This includes the Pearl Hill and Cold Springs fires which combined to burn over 410,000 acres and become the largest in the state’s history.
More of the Same in 2021
The last month of 2020 was a precursor of what is to come with several days of Red Flag Warnings for California. As 2021 nears, forecasters predict another year of large fires due to continuous climate change, persistent drought, and La Niña in regions prone to parched vegetation and climbing temperatures. It seems impossible to imagine that we could see records shattered like 2020 but if the past few years have proven, unprecedented wildfire seasons are the new normal.
Hurricane Iota tumbled into Central America late last night, where countries are still recovering from Hurricane Eta. The storm made landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane, near the town of Haulover, Nicaragua. This is just a mere 15 miles from Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua where slightly less powerful Eta made landfall on November 3rd. However, Hurricane Iota impacts will likely be much stronger. The storm’s maximum winds were just 2 mph shy of Category 5 at 155 mph at landfall.
Boulder, CO, 08/03/2020
RedZone is pleased to announce that Kwong Yau has joined the company as the organization’s new Director of Risk Products. Kwong comes from the insurance industry and brings forth an immeasurable amount of industry knowledge and experience.
Kwong, who holds a Master In Science from Villanova University, began a +20 year career-long relationship in risk management and product development specializing in natural catastrophes. Kwong’s proven ability to link data and analytics into effective models along with his expertise in the insurance industry will prove to be a powerful combination as he leads the continued development of the RedZone RZRisk product suite.
Kwong is especially grateful for the opportunity to apply his past experience to the RedZone team whilst helping to grow the company’s footprint further. “I am very excited to use my skill sets and industry knowledge to build great RedZone products to meet the changing needs of our customers, develop relationships with existing customers, strengthen the RedZone brand across applicable industries, and generate sales and contribute to revenue growth. I am equally excited to collaborate and learn from the RedZone team.
As the founder and CEO of RedZone, Clark Woodward too is thrilled with the new appointment. “Kwong comes to us with extensive experience in the insurance industry which is already being applied to refine our products and interactions with customers. In his first week, Kwong has hit the ground running!”
By providing the most accurate, reliable, and up-to-date wildfire intelligence, value added analysis and field support, we serve our clients and their clients by aiding in the protection of property and assets, enhancing customer engagement and improving financial performance.
RedZone allows underwriters and insurers to take smarter risks by analyzing up-to-date disaster intelligence data and alerting clients of the potential catastrophic perils a property may face. RedZone has saved clients millions of dollars by reducing property loss claims whilst protecting the most valuable asset of all, their customers. RedZone’s Alert Dashboard pushes real-time alerts to insurers and brokers as soon as a wildfire, hurricane, earthquake threatens one of their customers.
Category 3 Hurricane Douglas is looking very likely for a weekend arrival in Hawaii. Interestingly, the storm could make landfall, at hurricane strength, over the Big Island or Oahu for the first time since 1992. Most storms weaken before actually reaching the islands. Even if it is another near miss or weakens to tropical storm force, there is a high chance that strong winds, dangerous surf, and heavy rainfall will affect portions of the state beginning late Saturday.
Boulder, CO, 07/06/2020
RedZone is pleased to announce the appointment of Matthew Wood as the organization’s next Director of Software Development. Matt brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and experience in software development.
With over two-decades of software and development experience, Matt has built and led numerous development and engineering teams across the globe. Prior to RedZone, Matt has held leadership and engineering roles at Cognizant, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and the Nations Center for Atmospheric Research.
Matt feels this is a tremendous opportunity in building new platforms to model and visualize natural disasters. “I’ve been a python developer for 21 years. I love GraphQL, data-analytics, architecture design, and mentoring others. I am excited to bring my past skills and passions to the RedZone team as we continue to define the wildfire and hurricane solution landscape.” As a Director of Software Development, Matt will oversee the RedZone software engineering team working on our growing suite of catastrophe monitoring and underwriting applications.
Clark Woodward, Founder and CEO of RedZone, says he and the rest of the team at RedZone are thrilled to have Matt join the team. “Matt’s background in building platforms that can scale rapidly is perfectly suited to the challenges that RedZone faces. Plus, he has an infectious enthusiasm and natural leadership style which makes him really fun to work with.”
By providing the most accurate, reliable, and up-to-date wildfire intelligence, value added analysis and field support, we serve our clients and their clients by aiding in the protection of property and assets, enhancing customer engagement and improving financial performance. RedZone is on a mission to help companies to build more resilient portfolios from wildfires in a changing climate and world.
The 2020 hurricane season started out at a record pace, but Saharan Dust blowing off the west coast of Africa will keep conditions relatively quiet over the next couple weeks. The dust cloud reached the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning, blanketing an area roughly the size of the United States and stretching over 4,000 miles across the Atlantic.