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How risk management can prevent future wildfire disasters in the wildland-urban interface

Posted date: June 12, 2014
Publication Year: 
2014
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: PNAS. 111(2): 746-751.

Abstract

Recent fire seasons in the western United States are some of the most damaging and costly on record. Wildfires in the wildlandurban interface on the Colorado Front Range, resulting in thousands of homes burned and civilian fatalities, although devastating, are not without historical reference. These fires are consistent with the characteristics of large, damaging, interface fires that threaten communities across much of the western United States. Wildfires are inevitable, but the destruction of homes, ecosystems, and lives is not. We propose the principles of risk analysis to provide land management agencies, first responders, and affected communities who face the inevitability of wildfires the ability to reduce the potential for loss. Overcoming perceptions of wildlandurban interface fire disasters as a wildfire control problem rather than a home ignition problem, determined by home ignition conditions, will reduce home loss.

Citation

Calkin, David E.; Cohen, Jack D.; Finney, Mark A.; Thompson, Matthew P. 2014. How risk management can prevent future wildfire disasters in the wildland-urban interface. PNAS. 111(2): 746-751.