There has been relatively little research on wildland urban interface (WUI) fire spread, compared to fires within structures, despite the increasing frequency and losses from WUI fires. This research funding was used to deploy to two WUI fire events and conduct two detailed WUI case studies, and a framework was developed to quantify fire and ember exposure at the WUI and to link exposure to design and material guidance for structures in the WUI.
Development of a framework to measure ember exposure in the wildland urban interface, and to link exposure to design and materials guidance for sturctures.
The Witch/Guejito case study focused on the Trails community in San Diego, California. The Trails community was almost entirely affected by the Witch and Guejito fires and had significant structural losses.The data collection, conducted in partnership with CALFIRE and San Diego Fire and Rescue, and the subsequent data analysis highlighted the need for a wildland urban interface (WUI) data collection methodology, and such a methodology was developed.
The next case study was conducted in Amarillo, Texas, in partnership with the Texas Forest Service (TFS). TFS was trained on the data collection methodology and teams were deployed to investigate the Tanglewood Complex fire. The size of the fire enabled the response teams to investigate the entire fire. While the fire was a relatively small WUI fire, looking at the entire incident provided technical information that was not available during the Witch/Guejito case study, both in the context of exposure and defensive actions.
The third case study, the Waldo fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado, also investigated the entire fire. While resources had not been trained to respond rapidly and collect field data right after the incident, significant data was available in the form of photographic and video documentation of the fire. This information together with data from the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system of the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) and the CSFD radio logs was able to provide a clear picture of what occurred across the majority of the incident. As in Amarillo, the Waldo fire investigation focused on the entire fire, which in Colorado Springs destroyed 346 destroyed homes.
Hazard Assessment and WUI Data