How risk management can prevent future wildfire disasters in the wildland-urban interface

Author(s):  Calkin, D.;  Cohen, J.;  Finney, M.;  Thompson, M.;

Subjects:  Fuels in the WUI.  House vulnerability and protection.  Prevention.  Risk assessment and mapping.

Publication year: 2014

Published by: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA / Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA


Recent fire seasons in the western United States are some of the most damaging and costly on record. Wildfires in the wildland-urban interface on the Colorado Front Range, resulting in thousands of homes burned and civilian fatalities, although devastating, are not without historical reference. These fires are consistent with the characteristics of large, damaging, interface fires that threaten communities across much of the western United States. Wildfires are inevitable, but the destruction of homes, ecosystems, and lives is not. We propose the principles of risk analysis to provide land management agencies, first responders, and affected communities who face the inevitability of wildfires the ability to reduce the potential for loss. Overcoming perceptions of wildland-urban interface fire disasters as a wildfire control problem rather than a home ignition problem, determined by home ignition conditions, will reduce home loss.


Edited by F. Stuart Chapin III, University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK, and approved November 22, 2013

Language: English

Document copyright: All rights reserved

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Document type: Articles in conferences, proceedings

Document format: PDF Document

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Registered on WUIWATCH by: David_Caballero