Extreme heat and very dry conditions are, unfortunately, now fueling numerous and in some cases massive fires across the country. And not just in densely wooded forests but in, or on, the fringes of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas. This is increasingly problematic. i.e., dangerous, to people and property as WUIs are the fastest-growing land use type in the contiguous U.S. (at least 9% of the total land area).
Understanding the risks that WUI development creates and the need for concerted efforts to facilitate change, FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released a new report of special significance at this critical time. Entitled “Wildland Urban Interface: A Look at Issues and Resolutions,” the report identifies 33 challenges within 13 key WUI issues and provides 112 recommendations that are equitable and salable at a national, regional, or local level. Among the issues addressed are firefighter/public health and safety, climate change, community planning and resiliency, recovery, and risk management.
“Our communities have battled the nation’s most damaging wildfires in just the last few years, with wildfires accounting for 62% of the structures lost over the last 15 years,” recently said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We simply cannot shy away from the work required to mitigate future risk.”
Now, more than ever, the threat of catastrophic wildfire in America’s WUI demands national attention and a unified, multifaceted approach to prevention, mitigation, response, recovery, and overall community risk reduction.
At BOLDplanning, a division of Agility, we encourage you to download the report at your earliest opportunity and to take any/all actions to mitigate this growing risk to your community. The report is available online at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/stories/wui-report/index.html.