Understanding Wildland Urban Interface and Its Connection to Wildfires is critical to managing wildfire risks in urbanized landscapes. Fires in these landscapes occur when vegetation is unable to withstand or remove embers from the burning source of a wood-burning stove, such as an inefficient fireplace, a backyard fire, or an outdoor woodpile. Most fires in urban areas are the result of simple mismanagement of these spaces by owners, operators, and visitors. In this article, we will consider what is behind the “fire triangle” that describes the Wildland-Urban interface and explore its connection to Wildfire suppression strategies and wildfire risk management.
When large amounts of fuel accumulated over a period of time in a landscape like that found in most city streets and many city parks and forests, vegetation cannot stop the fire from advancing. In many cases, the fire has advanced too far and is spreading to within several miles of the town. At this point, it may have advanced into a neighborhood or small town where houses, businesses, and other infrastructure are located. In some cases, the fire is not contained to the edges of the Wildland-Urban interface but instead has traveled toward the town center and into the heart of a residential area.
A Wildfire Risk Assessment will assess the Wildfire Potential throughout the Wildfire Interfaces defined in the City Planning Department’s Fire Management Plan (FMP). These assessments will also include a Wildfire Prevention Plan (WTP) and Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP). These plans address everything from where and how the firewood for a home burning in a town fire pit should be procured to what protective equipment should be used to protect property and structures in the event of a wildfire. It is often recommended that local fire departments or city officials prepare a Wildfire Management Plan (WMP) that defines the manner in which they will manage wildfire in the area surrounding the town and district. In addition to the overall management plan, there are specific components that should be considered for each individual element in the plan.
Understanding the Wildfire Risk is necessary to understand the Fire Effects on the Urban Interface. One way to look at it is as though you were sitting on a grassy surface with all points of interest around you. On one side the road to your house is on the right and on your left is the garage, outbuilding, sidewalk, playground, and a fire hydrant. All other points of interest would be on the left side of your lawn, driveway, and in your front yard.
Understanding the Wildfire Threat is essential to understanding the Wildfire Risk Management Plan (WRMP). In this plan, the major concerns associated with wildfire are outlined and each day the primary prevention and control methods are described. All WMPs include an overview of the overall suppression strategy, current condition and trend data, future conditions, and likely future conditions. These data are essential in the preparation and establishment of a wildfire contingency plan within the Wildfire Management Area (WMIA).
Understanding the Interpreters and Effectors that are employed by wildlife and forestry in this situation is necessary for understanding how they will interact with you and your home and community. Some of the most common vegetation types found in the Wildfire Interface area are Beech, Cedar, Fir, Pin Oak, Maple, Oak, and Spruce. The species of animals most likely to be involved with and or threatened by your home and community include deer, coyotes, bears, eagles, fishers, porpoises, sheep, hunters, and others. It should be noted that all of these animals are prone to attack, especially if you come into contact with them during or after a wildfire.
Understanding the Interpreters and Effectors is critical to the success of Wildfire Management. This is so important that the Forest Service, which is part of the National Forest Service, as well as other cooperating agencies will work together to not only monitor and act when a wildfire is noticed but to also prevent one from starting. These cooperating agencies include the National Parks Service (NPS), US Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Army Corps of Engineers, National Audubon Society, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, National Science Foundation, University of Montana, and Xerces Society for Species Studies. Understanding what Interpreters and Effectors are required for Wildfire Management can help you and your family stay safe and protected. Knowing what to do during and after a wildfire can help keep your home and community safer.
A Wildfire Risk Assessment will provide you with information on the likelihood of a wildfire occurring and what can be done to protect your home and community. You will want to know what kind of vegetation is likely to be impacted by wildfire, such as whether or not there will be times when the vegetation is completely ash-free and even if it will grow after a wildfire has occurred. You will also want to know what kind of wild grasses and other types of vegetation might be affected and what their characteristics are. In some cases, the Interpreters and Effectors used by the Forest Service might not be able to handle a wildfire in your area. If that is the case, you should contact a wildlands specialist who can help you determine the best way to protect yourself, your home, and your community from the ravages of wildfire.