9 Flags on the VOA Wildfire Report

Athena Intelligence
3 min readJul 6, 2023

Athena’s Voice of the Acre® (VOA) is conditional, geospatial software that incorporates all the information about the land. Our overarching goal is to help “the land” share insights about its conditions, as clearly as possible, for humans to use in business decisions.

Each 30 sq meter “pixel” (about 10,000 square feet) has a unique alphanumeric code. The Machine Learning component fingerprints the current conditions, and then compares that to the conditions in and around historic wildfire events.

Internally, there are over 50 flags, indexes or derivatives which are part of the fingerprinting. But 9 of these Flags are shared in the single property, stand-alone, Wildfire Risk Report.

Each of the 9 labels are described and discussed below.

The information at the top of the Wildfire Risk Report is the summary, designed to be sufficient for wildfire risk assessment. The property risk is summarized with a Target Risk Profile that is Green, Yellow or Red.

Regardless of how many fires occur in the next 12 months and their locations, we know that at the end of the year, more than 75% will occur at locations labeled Red and less than 5% will occur at locations labeled Green. This label is meant to assist property insurance companies in their underwriting decisions. You can read more about this here: Using Athena for Underwriting Wildfire Risk

The next line is the Wildfire Probability Odds, expressed as a ratio. If a wildfire were to occur in the county, this ratio expresses the probability that this specific property would be inside the boundary of the wildfire. It is designed to be used by insurers in reserving for the Wildfire Probability Odds, where the Wildfire Probability Odds (WPO) is multiplied by the Total Insured Value (TVI) to get the Wildfire Probable Maximum Loss (PML).

The remaining 9 flags contain so much information that this is where the desire to be concise falters and I get bogged down in the details. For each of the flags, there is a one sentence description, and a link to page with more in depth information about this particular aspect of wildfire analysis.

Housing DensityThis relates to firebreaks and the space between structures.

Proximity to Wildland — Wildfires themselves usually start the uninhabited part of the wildland-urban interface (WUI).

Wildfire Conditional RiskConditional Risk refers exclusively to the conditions of the land: topography, soil, moisture, vegetation type, etc.

Wildfire Probability Risk — This risk is the probability of this location being inside the wildfire’s footprint or outside.

Wildfire Hazard Potential FlagAn index that quantifies the potential for wildfire to be difficult to control.

Burn Probability FlagAn index that projects the likelihood of a wildfire burning at a specific location

Wildfire Intensity FlagThis relates to the likely temperature and flame length, which in turn influences the approach firefighters take in responding to a wildfire.

Building Exposure Flag Follow up article still to be written — This relates to firebreaks and the consistency in the type of construction.

Risk to Structure Flag Follow up article still to be written — Information here comes from insurance claims and fire marshal reports from prior fires.

Here is the bottom line, while much of the data is public, the model itself is proprietary and extremely complex. It pulls in academic research, government data and information from damage reports and insurance claims.

The story of the land can be used by individuals and communities thinking about approaches to resiliency and home hardening. As a data vendor, Athena is eager to speak to any firm interested in using this data — at the consolidated summary level, or as disaggregated components incorporated into other catastrophic models.

Athena Intelligence is a synthetic data vendor, providing insights to the insurance, utility and finance industries. The earth’s essential data is refined to make it easy for enterprises to use environmental information for future contracts, proprietary business decisions and risk management.

If you would like to take a test drive of Athena’s wildfire risk model, just reach out to us at Info@Project-Athena.com.

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Athena Intelligence

Athena Intelligence weaves vast amounts of disaggregated environmental data. Drop us a line (Info@Project-Athena.com), or visit www.athenaintel.io