Building loss to wildfires in the WUI in the US
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Wildfires are a natural element of many ecosystems and have a great impact on society by destroying property and sometimes by taking lives. In the United States alone, thousands of individual fires occur every year and the number of both burned hectares and destroyed buildings are higher than ever since recorded fire history. Six of the 10 fires with the largest losses of lives and homes of the 20th century occurred in the wildland urban interface (WUI), and all of them occurred within the last 20 years. Given that billions of dollars are being allocated to fuel management and fire suppression and that the main fire suppression goal is to protect people and property, it is necessary to understand the factors related to vegetation, terrain and spatial arrangement that contribute to building loss from wildfires, and examine nationwide spatial patterns of vulnerability and rebuilding.