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Wildland urban interface part II: response of components, systems, and mitigation strategies in the United States

Author(s): Raquel S. P. Hakes, Sara E. Caton, Daniel J. Gorham, Michael J. Gollner
Year Published: 2017

Structure loss in wildland fires has significantly increased over the past few decades, affected by increased development in rural areas, changing fuel management policies, and climate change, all of which are projected to increase in the future. This paper is Part II of a two-part review, which presents a summary of fundamental and applied research on pathways to fire spread in the wildland urban interface. Part I discussed the fundamentals of wildland fire spread via radiative heat transfer, direct flame contact, and firebrand exposure. Here in Part II, we cover the response of building components and systems, as well as mitigation strategies used to prevent fire spread into and within communities in the United States. Post-fire investigations, full-scale structural testing, individual component testing, and combined systems or assembly testing have been used to identify building component and system vulnerabilities such as roofs, vents, siding, decks, fences, and mulch. Using results from these tests and investigations at different scales, some knowledge has been gained on specific vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies, but a quantitative framework has not yet been established. On a community level, the layout of structures and the space between them has been shown to be incredibly important in mitigating wildfire risk. More locally, defensible space around homes has been effective in mitigating exposure from both radiation and direct flame contact. Firebrands still remain a challenge; however, many design recommendations have been proposed to harden structures against firebrand exposures. Recommendations for future research and development are also presented.

Citation: Hakes RSP, Caton SE, Gorham DJ, Gollner, MJ. 2017. Wildland urban interface part II: response of components, systems, and mitigation strategies in the United States. Fire Technology 53 (2): 475-515.
Topic(s): Fire & Economics, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Synthesis
NRFSN number: 17715
Record updated: Jun 5, 2018