Wildland Urban Interface

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An analysis of factors influencing structure loss resulting from the 2018 Camp Fire

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Results were largely consistent with previously literature, finding that structural hardness factors (e.g. double-paned windows, enclosed eaves, ignition-resistant roofs and siding, no vents, etc.) are important in determining structure survival. Newer structures, built after California’s recent (2005 and 2007) fire safe building code updates, were more likely to survive, as were homes with higher improvement values. Mobile homes were far more likely to be destroyed. The role of fuel mitigation around structures was less conclusive; defensible space clearance had only a weak association with structure survival, although DINS+DSPACE results suggested a slight reduction in risk due to removing leaves and needles from gutters/roofs and keeping surrounding dead grass mowed.

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Structural damage from wildfires in WUI communities

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Destructive wildfires are now a real threat in regions across the country and beyond what was once considered as the fire season, examples of which are the 2016 Gatlinburg Fire in the Southeast and the 2021 Marshall Fire in late December. Existing wildfire risk assessment procedures typically use simulation modeling to quantify the wildfire exposure to wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities, but rely on subjective estimates of the susceptibility of structures to fire in order to quantify risk. Thus, there is a need to better understand and characterize the effectiveness of different mitigation actions related to individual structure features and community layout on the resilience of a WUI community to fire. This presentation discusses findings from the analyses of past wildfire events and introduces a streamlined model to capture fire spread inside WUI communities to quantify structural damage. The proposed model can be used to guide mitigation actions in existing and new communities, and inform preparedness and response strategies by evaluating the likelihood of successful suppression based on the rate of fire spread.

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Adapting western US forests to climate change and wildfires: 10 common questions

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Forests in western North America are shaped by fire and — for the past century or more — by the absence of it. After more than a century of fire exclusion and under a rapidly changing climate, fire behavior has changed, and damage from wildfire is increasing. With more than a century of forest and fire science to build on, scientists, managers, and communities are refining management options for reducing risks to communities and ecosystems.

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17th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit

Conference website.

As it is already set by tradition, the Conference in Coimbra, Portugal, aims to provide an up to date on the developments in forest fire science and technology and an opportunity to meet persons and institutions, to promote international cooperation in this research and management area.

Following its previous editions, the scope of this Conference will cover the main topics related to fire management in a research perspective. There will be six major themes for you to present your work, each of them with several sub-topics, that you can find here on the website. The themes are related to Fire at the Wildland Urban Interface, Fire Risk Management, Decision Support Systems and Tools, Fire Management, Fuel Management and Socio Economic Issues. These themes are not restricted and we are open to other subjects that are proposed, as well.

Two courses, the VI Short Course on Fire Safety and the IX Short Course on Forest Fire Behaviour, will be held before the Conference, as related but separate events.

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Becoming Firewise: Fire resistant landscapes and homes class

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Description: This Free class teaches techniques and practices for protecting your home and property from damage associated with fire outside the home, especially wildfire. It covers:

  • Fire safe practices around the home to prevent fires
  • The basics of fire behavior as applied to the “Home Ignition Zone”
  • Landscaping techniques
  • Plant selection
  • Construction choices

There are steps that all home and property owners can take that can pay huge dividends. We’ll break down the barriers and explore ways to reduce your risk and keep your infrastructure and community safer from fire. Learning materials will be provided plus there will be Door Prizes!

Guest Speakers: John Rizza, Regional Fire Specialist, Northeast Oregon, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Fire Program, Oregon State University Extension Service, and Al Crouch, Fire Mitigation Specialist, Vale District Bureau of Land Management.

Location:
Treasure Valley Community College
650 College Boulevard
Science Center Room 104
Ontario, OR 97914

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Emerging WUI and fire science from the IBHS research team

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The IBHS test chamber is a unique facility to study the effects of wind on fire. The test chamber area is equal to four basketball courts which allows researchers to perform large scale wind and fire tests. The test chamber is equipped with 105 fans that can generate gusty wind ranging from 12 to 120 mph. In this presentation, we will share our experience on creating realistic gusty wind and its effects on full-scale fire tests. Then, we will talk about our ongoing collaborative research projects with USFS, NIST and Cal Fire. Finally, we will describe our role in building codes and public policy.

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Wildland Fire Canada Conference

Conference website

Wildland Fire Canada Conference (WFCC) brings together wildland fire management agencies, partners, and collaborators in Canada and around the world. These biennial conferences focus on wildland fire management, ecology, and science in Canada. Canada has a diversity of fire-prone environments that bring a unique perspective to wildland fire challenges and opportunities.

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Local social fragmentation and its potential effects on adapting to wildfire

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The case study research presented in this article evaluates social characteristics present in a WUI community that faces extreme wildfire risk to both people and property. It explores social processes that impede the ability of community members to work together collectively to solve problems (e.g., wildfire risk) and offers an alternative perspective about the nature of residency status (i.e., full-time and non-full-time) and its role in influencing wildfire mitigation efforts.

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Personalized risk information and social comparisons on information-seeking behavior in the WUI

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The effect of providing parcel-specific information depends on baseline conditions: Informing homeowners about their property’s wildfire risk increases information-seeking among homeowners of the highest-risk parcels by about 5 percentage points and reduces information-seeking among homeowners of lower-risk parcels by about 6 percentage points. Parcel-specific information also increases the overall response in the lowest risk communities by more than 10 percentage points.

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Housing and vegetation factors associated with home survival in 2018 Camp Fire, CA

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Strong associations between both distance to nearest destroyed structure and vegetation within 100 m and home survival in the Camp Fire indicate building and vegetation modifications are possible that would substantially improve outcomes. Among those include improvements to windows and siding in closest proximity to neighboring structures, treatment of wildland fuels, and eliminating near-home combustibles, especially in areas closest to the home (0–1.5 m).

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