Wildland Urban Interface

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Probabilistic wildfire risk estimates for individual real estate parcels for the contiguous US

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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.

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Reviewing the socio-demographic and environmental justice aspects of the wildfire literature

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We reviewed the socio-demographic dimensions of the wildfire literature using an environmental justice (EJ) lens. Specifically using a literature review of wildfires, human communities, social vulnerability, and homeowner mitigation, we conducted bibliometric and statistical analyses of 299 publications. The majority of publications were from the United States, followed by Canada and Australia, and most dealt with homeowner mitigation of risk, defensible space, and fuel treatments in WUI areas. Most publications studied the direct effects of wildfire related damage. Secondary impacts such as smoke, rural and urban communities, and the role of poverty and language were less studied. Based on a proposed wildfire-relevant EJ definition, the first EJ publication was in 2004, but the term was first used as a keyword in 2018. Studies in WUI communities statistically decreased the likelihood that a publication was EJ relevant. There was a significant relationship between EJ designation and inclusion of race/ethnicity and poverty variables in the study. Complexity across the various definitions of EJ suggest that it should not be used as a quantitative or binary metric; but as a lens to better understand socio-ecological impacts to diverse communities. We present a wildfire-relevant definition to potentially guide policy formulation and account for social and environmental justice issues.

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An Introduction to the Fire Adapted Communities Pathways Tool

Webinar recording.

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/

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2023 Wildland Urban Interface Conference

Conference website.

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WUI: A look at issues and resolutions

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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.

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The WUI in the US based on 125 million building locations

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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.

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Professional wildfire mitigation competency: A potential policy gap

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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.

Collection of resources

WUI Fire Risk – A Collection of Resources

Collection of resources

WUI Fuels/Fuel Treatments – A Collection of Resources

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WUI Fire Behavior/Fire Response – A Collection of Resources

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