Wildland Urban Interface
Historical wildfire ignition locations and NOAA’s hourly time series of surface weather at 2.5 km resolution are used to drive ELMFIRE to produce wildfire hazards representative of the 2022 and 2052 conditions at 30 m resolution, with the future weather conditions scaled to the IPCC CMIP5 RCP4.5 model ensemble predictions. Winds and vegetation were held constant between the 2022 and 2052 simulations, and climate change’s impacts on the future fuel conditions are the main contributors to the changes observed in the 2052 results. Non-zero wildfire exposure is estimated for 71.8 million out of 140 million properties across CONUS. Climate change impacts add another 11% properties to this non-zero exposure class over the next 30 years, with much of this change observed in the forested areas east of the Mississippi River. “Major” aggregate wildfire exposure of greater than 6% over the 30-year analysis period from 2022 to 2052 is estimated for 10.2 million properties. The FSF-WFM represents a notable contribution to the ability to produce property-specific, climate-adjusted wildfire risk assessments in the US.
Join FAC Net and Travis Paveglio as they present the new Fire Adapted Communities Pathways Tool. The Fire Adapted Communities Pathways Tool helps users identify a range of fire adaptation practices and resources that research and experience indicate are more likely to work in the places they live.
Learn more about the tool (or download it in advance of the presentation) here: https://fireadaptednetwork.org/resources/fac-pathways-tool/
In developing this report, a cross-functional group of stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the nation convened to identify 33 challenges within 13 key WUI issues and develop recommendations to address each challenge. In total, 112 recommendations are presented. These recommendations address challenges in firefighter health and safety, public health and safety, evacuations, forest and rangeland health and resiliency, climate change, community planning and resiliency, infrastructure and utilities, communication strategy and engagement operations, socioeconomic impacts, recovery, emerging technology, data use and modeling, and risk management in wildland fire. The recommendations should be pursued together, forming a system of strategies that require urgent, sustained and actionable implementations. These recommendations are not quick fixes, but solutions for the long term. Leadership on and commitment to the implementation of these recommendations results in a safer America.
For wildfire risk mapping and for general purposes, WUI maps based on the 500-m neighborhood represent the original Federal Register definition of the WUI; these maps include clusters of buildings in and adjacent to wildlands and exclude remote, isolated buildings. Our approach for mapping the WUI offers flexibility and high spatial detail and can be widely applied to take advantage of the growing availability of high-resolution building footprint data sets and classification methods.
Studies show that effective strategies to mitigate the risk of structural damage in wildfires include defensible spaces and home hardening. Structures in the western United States are especially at risk. Several jurisdictions have adopted codes that require implementation of these strategies. However, construction and landscaping professionals are generally not required to obtain credentials indicating their competency in mitigating the risk of structural damage in a wildfire. We discuss the implications of this policy gap and propose a solution to bolster competency of professionals in wildfire protection as communities further expand in fire-prone areas.