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Climate Change Risk Models

Simulations that model wildfire risk through 2099

California lacks up-to-date fire modeling that can project future wildfire impacts driven by climate change

Recent catastrophic wildfires serve as a warning of things to come: as the climate continues to change, more devastating fires will burn. The state must develop ways to promote resiliency.

Researchers are currently preparing California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment, a document that analyzes potential impacts from climate change and proposes policies that can protect the state. The Pyregence Climate Change and Fire Team is supporting the Fifth Assessment by developing models to simulate wildfire risk across California through the end of the century.

Build next-generation models that forecast fire risk in a changing climate

Our Climate Change and Fire Team is creating models to simulate wildfire occurrence, size, severity, and smoke emissions through 2099. Models can’t predict the future, but they can use historical data to create scenarios—possible futures that might become reality, depending on the choices we make. 

Compared to earlier efforts, the Pyregence models will incorporate more detailed data on climate and weather, including previously unavailable variables such as wind speed, wind direction, and relative humidity. They also will feature higher-resolution inputs and outputs related to fire risk and severity (including smoke-related illness), as well as improved data on landscape changes from development, fire, timber harvesting, and fuel management.  

The team will use the models to develop wildfire risk forecasts that take into account a range of possibilities regarding how the climate changes, how California’s forests are managed, and how the state’s land is developed. 

These innovations will lead to more accurate projections of long-term wildfire risk, thereby supporting more effective policy, planning, and risk mitigation. 

Our tool will be made easily accessible to all through a web-based platform, and all model code and outputs will be open source.


Electric utilities will draw on the projections to manage and design a power grid that will be resilient in the face of extreme fires.

Contributors to California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment will use the models to develop land use and development policies that will mitigate wildfire risk.

Fire management agencies can shape approaches to fuel reduction through prescribed burns and mechanical treatments.

Emergency planners can better prepare for fire in the wildland urban interface and its impacts on people (including the health effects of smoke emissions), property, and infrastructure.

Overall, the Pyregence models will help protect California and improve the resilience of its people, natural systems, and infrastructure.

Goals of the Climate Change and Fire Team


We’re building a web-based tool that will allow users to engage with a range of potential scenarios based on climate change projections, land use pathways, and land management interventions. Users will be able to simulate the size and intensity of wildfires through the end of the century.

These risk projections will support California’s Fifth Climate Change Assessment, helping government agencies and electric utilities make smart policy and planning decisions to protect California in the face of rising wildfire risk linked to climate change.

Climate Change and Fire Projections

Wildfire Projection-Related Research Papers

This web page hosts peer-reviewed research papers and other publications based on the work of the Climate Change and Fire Projections team.

Long-Term Wildfire Projection Datasets

Datasets will include input and output data from long-term projection models.