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Article

Building Loss in WUI Disasters: Evaluating the Core Components of the Wildland–Urban Interface Definition

1
Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University, 1472 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2020 / Revised: 16 December 2020 / Accepted: 17 December 2020 / Published: 20 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildfire Hazard and Risk Assessment)
Accurate maps of the wildland–urban interface (WUI) are critical for the development of effective land management policies, conducting risk assessments, and the mitigation of wildfire risk. Most WUI maps identify areas at risk from wildfire by overlaying coarse-scale housing data with land cover or vegetation data. However, it is unclear how well the current WUI mapping methods capture the patterns of building loss. We quantified the building loss in WUI disasters, and then compared how well census-based and point-based WUI maps captured the building loss. We examined the building loss in both WUI and non-WUI land-use types, and in relation to the core components of the United States Federal Register WUI definition: housing density, vegetation cover, and proximity to large patches of wildland vegetation. We used building location data from 70 large fires in the conterminous United States, which cumulatively destroyed 54,000 buildings from 2000 through to 2018. We found that: (1) 86% and 97% of the building loss occurred in areas designated as WUI using the census-based and point-based methods, respectively; (2) 95% and 100% of all of the losses occurred within 100 m and 850 m of wildland vegetation, respectively; and (3) WUI components were the most predictive of building loss when measured at fine scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildfire; risk assessment; structure loss; wildland–urban interface; mitigation; mapping; land use; disaster wildfire; risk assessment; structure loss; wildland–urban interface; mitigation; mapping; land use; disaster
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MDPI and ACS Style

Caggiano, M.D.; Hawbaker, T.J.; Gannon, B.M.; Hoffman, C.M. Building Loss in WUI Disasters: Evaluating the Core Components of the Wildland–Urban Interface Definition. Fire 2020, 3, 73. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire3040073

AMA Style

Caggiano MD, Hawbaker TJ, Gannon BM, Hoffman CM. Building Loss in WUI Disasters: Evaluating the Core Components of the Wildland–Urban Interface Definition. Fire. 2020; 3(4):73. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire3040073

Chicago/Turabian Style

Caggiano, Michael D., Todd J. Hawbaker, Benjamin M. Gannon, and Chad M. Hoffman 2020. "Building Loss in WUI Disasters: Evaluating the Core Components of the Wildland–Urban Interface Definition" Fire 3, no. 4: 73. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fire3040073

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