Wildland urban interface (WUI)

Resources to help fire departments and communities prepare for and respond to a WUI fire.

The wildland urban interface is an area where human made structures and infrastructure (e.g., cell towers, schools, water supply facilities, etc.) are in or adjacent to areas prone to wildfire.

Explore these resources to:

  • Create and sustain a fire-adapted community located within a WUI.
  • Find out how to develop a community wildfire protection plan.
  • Help your fire department increase community awareness about preventing WUI fires.
  • Learn about new and emerging technology for wildland fire incident response.
  • Read about the latest in WUI research.
  • Prepare more effectively for response to WUI fires.

In addition, our WUI toolkit contains recommended and trusted resources from other agencies and organizations that will help your fire department prepare for, and respond to, WUI fires.

Our latest article

photo of a couple looking at their home destroyed by fire
Post-wildfire recovery

Considerations and suggested resources to help communities rebuild and individuals to recover after a wildfire.

WUI and COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions for Wildland Firefighters. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specific to wildland firefighters and COVID-19, including crew isolation, infection control and testing.

Protect thy neighbor: messaging to encourage wildfire preparedness

Across the United States many communities such as Ogden, Utah, Gold Canyon, Arizona and Klamath County, Oregon, are experiencing wildfires. Because of COVID-19, wildland firefighting is even more challenging.

It is also more challenging for residents in wildfire-prone regions because they are unable to work with fire departments and other community organizations on projects that create conditions to improve wildfire safety. To help during this time, encourage your residents to prepare their homes and property individually for a possible wildfire.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study, Protect Thy Neighbor: Investigating the Spatial Externalities of Wildfire Hazard Mitigation, individual homeowner efforts can make a huge difference not only in the survivability of their own homes, but in their neighbors' homes as well.

NIST developed a model of interdependent household wildfire risk and examined its implications for a hypothetical fire-prone community. One of the amazing results of the study was the determination that one person's wildfire prevention efforts can positively impact the outcome of their neighbors' homes.

Encourage residents in your community to prepare their homes and property until they can work together on community wildfire safety projects. Use USFA's social media cards to host a “virtual community clean-up day.” Together, these individual efforts can make a huge difference in a community's outcome during a wildfire event.

WUI expansion

The WUI grew rapidly from 1990 to 2010, with increases of 41% in homes and 33% in land, making it the fastest growing land use type in the lower 48 states.

Source: U.S. Forest Service
icon with a house, trees and a red arrow pointing up

Training opportunities

National Fire Academy courses will provide you with the ability to create and sustain a fire-adapted community. Land-use planning, code adoption, evacuation planning, wildland fire behavior, foundational wildland firefighting skills, and command and control are covered.

Explore National Fire Academy WUI courses.

Featured course

wildland firefighters walking through a field with a fire in the background
Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior (NWCG S-190)

Through this online self-study course, you will learn how wildfire starts and spreads and to recognize hazardous situations.

Enroll

New to our collection

WUI neighborhood in New Jersey
WUI fires: before, during and after

Information about what communities need to know before, during and after a WUI fire.

Explore what to do

Outreach materials

Help your community plan for, respond to, and recover from the devastating effects of a wildland, grass or forest fire.

Order or download print and social media outreach materials

Share these messages on social media!

Download more outdoor/wildfire safety cards

NETC library

Get a head start on your WUI research project with these reference materials from the National Emergency Training Center's library.

Browse library WUI topics

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New to our collection

book cover
Wildfire Readiness

This timely book examines what scientists know about wildfires, whether we can predict them, and how we learn from each event.

Borrow this book

WUI articles

photo of a home with wildfire smoke and a helicopter in the background
Wildfire challenges, risk reduction examined in new report

The September 2020 Wildfire Risk report looks at new wildfire challenges, loss statistics and risk reduction methods.

aerial view of a wildfire
InciWeb mapping resource helps communities prepare for wildfire

InciWeb shows where wildfires are burning in areas close to your location, allowing you to better prepare your community for wildfire safety.

aerial photo of a small Oregon community
Include everyone in community wildfire preparedness

Pre-fire planning tips for wildfire to help ensure that the whole community's resilience is considered.

homes destroned by wildfire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
NIST survey reveals wildfire evacuation factors

A survey of residents who experienced the 2016 Chimney Tops 2 Fire in Tennessee leads to a better understanding of wildfire evacuations.

man operating a drone
FAA changes rules for public safety drone flights

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) changed a rule that may positively impact your department or agency's unmanned aircraft system (UAS) program.

a man leading an outdoor community wildfire meeting
Fire-adapted communities

Learn what fire-adapted communities are, where they fit into the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, and how to create one.

NWCG poster depicting graphics
New graphics highlight wildland firefighter safety messaging

Beautiful graphics from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group that depict the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders and the 18 Watch Out Situations are now available for free download.

a woman wearing a mask during a wildfire
Minimizing the effects of wildfire smoke during COVID-19

Inform your community about these actionable steps they can take to minimize the respiratory effects of wildfire smoke.

wildfire on a hillside with houses in the foreground
How to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Learn about the history behind the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), the key components, how a CWPP can benefit a community at risk from wildfire, and how to create a plan for your community.

a wildland firefighter sprays water on a treed
National guidance for COVID-19 wildfire response released

With the potential for serious operational impacts due to COVID-19, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group recently released national guidance for wildfire response during the pandemic.

photo of person installing gutter guards
Doing the little things makes a difference in wildfire safety

Learn about simple and low-cost actions that homeowners can take to protect their homes from wildfire.

park in the foreground with wildfire smoke in the background
Addressing wildland fire challenges

The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy helps local fire departments and residents in wildfire-prone regions to create cities and neighborhoods that can survive wildfire events.

hospital staff meeting
Lessons learned at healthcare facilities from recent wildfires

Real-life experiences from the 2017 and 2019 wildfire response in Colorado and California focusing on evacuation, patient tracking, managing planned power shutoffs and planning for the future.

burned out street after a wildfire with street signs propped up
WUI fire evacuations: how national address point data helps

Learn how a national address point database can be of value to incident commanders and emergency managers during wildfire evacuations.

hospital staff pushing a patient with a blurred photo effect
Hospital evacuation challenges during a wildfire

Hospital leadership at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, California, share their personal and professional experiences on hospital evacuation during the Tubbs Fire.

cars evacuating from the Ft. McMurray wildfire
Free mapping data can assist in planning for evacuations

Free data for small towns looking to develop disaster evacuation plans or improve infrastructure.

wildfire threatens home
Mitigating wildfire vulnerability: one community's success story

Learn how the Montecito Fire Protection District used a socio-ecological mitigation approach to successfully fight the Thomas Fire.

homes burning on a hillside during a wildfire
Wildland Urban Interface Chief's Guide

This guide walks fire chiefs and other officials through wildfire planning using the four phases of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

youth volunteers helping with forest cleanup
Working with youth groups to reduce community wildfire risk

Community wildfire risk reduction is more effective when the whole community is involved. Getting homeowners, civic groups and religious institutions involved goes a long way, but another audience that can be rewarding to work with is youth groups.

wildland firefighters walking through a field with a wildfire in the background
Mendocino Complex Fire after action review and lessons learned

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, U.S Forest Service and the Los Angeles Fire Department published a joint paper on last year's Mendocino Complex Fire, discussing openly the multitude of problems facing teams assigned to the incident.

home with wildfire mitigation measures in place
How one homeowner saved his house from the Carr Fire

Learn about wildfire mitigation measures one California homeowner took during construction and maintained over the years to make his home fire-resilient.

WUI toolkit

This collection of recommended resources will help your fire department prepare for, and respond to, WUI fires. Included are outreach materials, training courses, assessment tools, and links to the latest WUI research studies.

Explore toolkit resources

Technology applications for WUI response

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has outlined how new and existing technologies can improve operational capabilities and incident response to save lives in WUI fires.

Get the report