Wildland Urban Interface

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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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Identifying plausible community wildfire disasters in low-frequency fire regimes

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In this study, we used wildfire simulations and building location data to evaluate community wildfire exposure and identify plausible disasters that are not based on typical mean-based statistical approaches. We compared the location and magnitude of simulated disasters to historical disasters (1984–2020) in order to characterize plausible surprises which could inform future wildfire risk reduction planning. Results indicate that nearly half of communities are vulnerable to a future disaster, that the magnitude of plausible disasters exceeds any recent historical events, and that ignitions on private land are most likely to result in very high community exposure. Our methods, in combination with more typical actuarial characterizations, provide a way to support investment in and communication with communities exposed to low-probability, high-consequence wildfires.

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From the home to the landscape (defensible space)

Fire Aware. Fire Prepared. Wildfire Wednesday’s webinar series hosted by Oregon State University Extension recordings are available on the Fire Program website.

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Prioritizing your home hardening approach

Webinar recording.

Fire Aware. Fire Prepared. Wildfire Wednesday’s with Oregon State University Extension are returning this fall.  Visit the Online Webinar Guide on the Fire Program website for more information.

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Wildfire science and values

Webinar recording.

During this peer learning session, speakers will:

  • Build understanding about the spectrum of complementary actions, based on available science, to protect the built environment and community values from wildfire, improve the ecological resilience of our landscapes, and improve the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management;
  • Discuss the concepts of landscape resilience, the wildland urban interface and the home ignition zone, fire management options, and the roles they play in reducing fire risk;
  • Address why fire needs to be restored to the landscape;
  • Consider the values that could be lost and how they relate to fire; and
  • Discuss how to increase the options for fire managers to implement integrated active management.
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Science x socioeconomic dimensions of land management webinar series

Webinar recordings.

Monday, December 6: Forest and Rangeland Livelihoods
Leveraging demand for renewable energy and innovative bioproducts to facilitate forest restoration, presented by Nate Anderson
What happened to wood products markets in 2020 and 2021 in the United States?, presented by Jeff Prestemon
Managing wolves and livestock on national forests in the West, presented by Susan Charnley

Tuesday, December 7: Protecting Ecosystem Services
Human ecology mapping: Capturing diverse forest benefits and landscape interactions for use in planning and decision-making, presented by Lee Cerveny
What’s a canopy worth? Using i-Tree to understand the value of trees, presented by Alexis Ellis
Agroforestry: Tools for working across the landscape, presented by Gary Bentrup, Kate MacFarland, Matthew Smith, Richard Straight

Wednesday, December 8: Bounty Beneath Our Feet
Why is biochar so important?, presented by Debbie Page-Dumroese
Establishing pollinator habitat in log landings after timber sales begins with restoring the soil, presented by John Kabrick
Soil organic carbon, presented by Andy Coulter and Stephanie Connolly

Thursday, December 9: Urban Interfaces
A shared stewardship approach to wildland fire mitigation in Eastern Oklahoma, presented by Cassandra Johnson Gaither
Urban forestry, presented by Natalie van Doorn
Fire WUI urban communities, presented by Francisco Escobedo

Friday, December 10: Getting Outside
Managing winter recreation and sensitive species on Colorado’s public lands: Do humans and Canada lynx select the same habitat?, presented by Lucretia Olson
Considering the benefits of recreation in program reporting and decision-making, presented by Eric White
Latinix outdoor recreation, presented by Jose Sanchez

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Wildland Urban Interface Conference 2021

Conference website for on-demand content.

The International Assoc of Fire Chief’s Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) conference offers hands-on training and interactive sessions designed to address the challenges of wildland fire. If you’re one of the many people responsible for protecting local forests or educating landowners and your community about the importance of land management—then this is the conference for you.

Conference was held at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, NV.

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Risky development: Increasing exposure to natural hazards in the US

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Our results show that 57% of structures (homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings, etc.) are located in hazard hotspots, which represent only a third of CONUS area, and ∼1.5 million buildings lie in hotspots for two or more hazards. These critical levels of exposure are the legacy of decades of sustained growth and point to our inability, lack of knowledge, or unwillingness to limit development in hazardous zones. Development in these areas is still growing more rapidly than the baseline rates for the nation, portending larger future losses even if the effects of climate change are not considered.

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How vulnerable are states to wildfire: A livelihood assessment

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We produce a framework needed to compute the livelihood vulnerability index (LVI) for the top 14 American States that are most exposed to wildfires, based on the 2019 Wildfire Risk report of the acreage size burnt in 2018 and 2019: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The LVI is computed for each State by first considering the State’s exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity to wildfire events (known as the three contributing factors). These contributing factors are determined by a set of indictor variables (vulnerability metrics) that are categorized into corresponding major component groups. The framework structure is then justified by performing a principal component analysis (PCA) to ensure that each selected indicator variable corresponds to the correct contributing factor. The LVI for each State is then calculated based on a set of algorithms relating to our framework. LVI values rank between 0 (low LVI) to 1 (high LVI). Our results indicate that Arizona and New Mexico experience the greatest livelihood vulnerability, with an LVI of 0.57 and 0.55, respectively. In contrast, California, Florida, and Texas experience the least livelihood vulnerability to wildfires (0.44, 0.35, 0.33 respectively). LVI is strongly weighted on its contributing factors and is exemplified by the fact that even though California has one of the highest exposures and sensitivity to wildfires, it has very high adaptive capacity measures in place to withstand its livelihood vulnerability. Thus, States with relatively high wildfire exposure can exhibit relatively lower livelihood vulnerability because of adaptive capacity measures in place.

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