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Wildfires in the wildland-urban interface: key concepts and evaluation methodologies

Author(s): A. Bento-Gonçalves, A. Vieira
Year Published: 2020

Over the last decades, the different issues regarding the expansion of the wildland-urban interface (WUI) - particularly those related to fires - have spread around the world with particular exposure in the USA, Canada, Australia, and, more recently, in southern European countries (e.g. Portugal and Greece). It has been receiving even more attention from the scientific community particularly due to the ecological and sociological implications on the management of natural resources and decisions associated with spatial planning. Consequently, throughout the extensive research conducted on wildfires, there has been a growing interest and body of literature on wildfires in the WUI worldwide. Although there are many articles published in English, in indexed journals, there is an excellent body of literature published in other languages (e.g. French, Spanish, Portuguese), which is not very well known and rarely cited. In this body of literature, whether in English or other languages, concepts and definitions are not always consensual. In this sense, this paper aims at reviewing the key concepts regarding intrinsic characteristics of the WUI and wildfires in the WUI, presenting evaluation methodologies that have been applied to WUI and analyzing several risk prevention and reduction programs developed in WUI affected by forest fires in different parts of the world. Through our analysis we found that the work developed by researchers worldwide on this subject is significant, considering the increasing relevance of this environmental problem. However, it is fundamental to define standardized methodologies in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and promote cooperation, interdisciplinarity. The implementation of a collaborative approach is needed, especially in the development of strategies to prevent and reduce fire risk in these areas.

Citation: Bento-Gonçalves, A.; Vieira, A. 2020. Wildfires in the wildland-urban interface: key concepts and evaluation methodologies. Science of The Total Environment 707:135592. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135592
Topic(s): Risk, Risk assessment, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20937
FRAMES RCS number: 60611
Record updated: Apr 7, 2020