Location Intelligence | Pitney Bowes

Fire doesn't discriminate

Insurers need a 50-state view of wildfire risk.

The basics on fire are pretty simple: Put together three elements, heat, fuel and oxygen, and things will burn. These fires can happen anywhere. In 2015, Delaware was the only state that escaped unscathed. Most wildland fires are started by humans, not weather, or other natural events. The damage and destruction to people and property can be devastating.

The insurers' challenge

To underwrite and price appropriately for wildland fire risks, you need the best answers you can get to several key questions.

  • Where are the high probability locations for these fires to happen?
  • How severe will the wildfire be if it occurs?
  • Who might they harm?
  • What might they burn?
  • What could they cost?

Yet, facing 50 states’ worth of wildfire risk, most insurers rely on as little as 13 states’ worth of data. That’s a big risk.

Consider, for example, Tennessee. It isn’t on insurers’ short list, but in 2016, a single wildfire event there killed 14 people and scorched  thousands of acres. It also destroyed over 2000 residences and approximately 53 commercial structures, damaging hundreds of others. That’s one wildfire. In 2016, there were 68 thousand wildfires throughout the US.

Pitney Bowes with FireRisk Pro™ has you covered.

FireRisk Pro software provides full US coverage throughout all 50 states. This is coverage that isn’t just wide, it’s deep. It reflects wildfire history, probability and fire severity. It also drills down to the community level, taking into account factors such as:

  • Distance to fire stations
  • Distance to primary road system
  • Continuity of vegetation
  • Percentage of non-burnable area
  • Average slope, aspect and elevation
  • Presence of vegetation modifications

Get data for today's conditions.

Drier, hotter climate conditions add to increased probability and fire severity.Increases in urban development at the edge of wildlands (Wildland-Urban Interface - WUI), has elevated the loss of life and property. These, and other evolving factors require an evolving understanding of risk.

It’s more important than ever to take into account adjacent fire behavior attributes such as flame length and potential for crown fire that can generate embers. Assessments of structure density and proximity to hazardous fire behavior need to be factored in, to produce a more accurate “Ember Zone” risk rating for properties within WUI areas, and within urban areas traditionally ignored by risk models.

Multiple sources offer richer perspective.

FireRisk Pro combines the best public domain and private data inputs from Pitney Bowes, LANDFIRE data, United States Geological Survey, GEOMAC, and USDA Forest Service Map Products,  This data is then synthesized and calibrated by Anchor Point’s wildland fire scientists  to provide outputs on fire risk that are easily integrated into existing systems and workflows.

We also recognize that fire risk needs to be considered in the context of a larger view of risk. Some places that are more susceptible to fire may also, ironically, be more susceptible to post fire flooding. Other fire-risk areas are also at risk of earthquake and/or landslides. As part of the Pitney Bowes Risk Data Suite, FireRisk Pro can work in concert with other Pitney Bowes data products, letting you GeoEnrich your insights and gain a Single View of Risk. 

Learn more

Be sure to talk to your Pitney Bowes sales representative, or visit us at: pitneybowes.com/us/data/boundary-data/risk-data-suite.html to see how you can profit from our perspective.