A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

Law, Planning and Wildlife in Wildland-Urban Interface: The Future of Government and Governance of Disaster in the West

The Idaho Law Review invites proposals for presentations and papers for its symposium, “Law, Planning and Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface:  The Future of Government and Governance of Disaster in the West.”

In 1995, fire suppression made up 16 percent of the U.S. Forest Service’s annual appropriated budget; in 2015, wildfire consumed more than 50 percent of the agency’s budget.
As suppression costs mount, attention is increasingly focused on development patterns that place more people in wildfire’s way, often resulting in higher losses of life, greater property value damage, and higher suppression costs.  This is especially true at the urban fringe, often referred to as the “Wildland-Urban Interface,” or WUI.  Six of the 10 most expensive fires in the past 100 years were WUI fires, despite the fact that WUI fires account for just a small fraction of overall fires fought in any given year.  According to one widely used WUI definition, only 14 percent of the WUI is developed. If current development patterns continue, development in the WUI will almost certainly grow substantially, resulting in even further increases in wildfire protection costs. With the West perennially ranking as a fast-growth region, WUI development is certain to grow over time.

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