Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) toolkit

Wildland Urban Interface toolkit: Research

National Emergency Training Center library

The U.S. Fire Administration’s library provides information and resources on fire, emergency management and other all-hazards subjects — including the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).

Explore our WUI collection for the latest materials published by government/non-government organizations and professional and scholarly publications.

Rocky Mountain Research Station

The Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Fire, Fuel and Smoke Program conducts national and international work in wildland fire research. The program’s scientists, technicians and support staff develop management tools and applications designed to improve understanding of wildland fire and increase the safety and effectiveness of fire, fuel and smoke management. Specific research activities are focused on physical fire processes, fuel dynamics, smoke emissions and dispersion, fire ecology, fire and fuel management strategies, and science synthesis and delivery.

Current events and emergent issues

Scholarly articles on emergent issues in the WUI. Browse WUI research articles.

Featured research studies

Adapt to More Wildfire in Western North American Forests as Climate Changes
April 2017
This paper proposes an approach that accepts wildfire as an inevitable catalyst of change and that promotes adaptive responses by ecosystems and residential communities to more warming and wildfire.
A Case Study of a Community Affected by the Waldo Fire – Event Timeline and Defensive Actions
November 2015, PDF 60 MB
This study of Colorado’s devastating 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire demonstrates that prompt and effective action can significantly change the outcome of fires that occur in the WUI. Along with the most detailed timeline for a WUI fire ever created, the study report presents 37 technical findings that serve as the basis for 13 technical recommendations aimed at improving community resilience to wildfires.
Do Insurance Policies and Rates Influence Home Development on Fire-Prone Lands?
June 2016, PDF 366 MB
The dangers and costs associated with wildfires are rising and predicted to escalate rapidly in decades to come, primarily because of continued development on fire-prone lands and the effects of climate change. Those interested in reducing wildfire risk have asked whether insurance can play a role in making new and existing homes safer. This research paper attempts to answer that question by reviewing studies and news articles, examining trends, and interviewing insurance industry experts.
Homeowners’ Wildfire Fire Beliefs and Behaviors: Results from Seven Colorado Wildland Urban Interface Counties
July 2016, PDF 950 KB
This research effort assessed the effectiveness of communicating with landowners about reducing wildfire risk. It builds on previous research by identifying the barriers that prevent residents in five prone areas from adopting firewise behaviors to both the area around the home (defensible space) and to the home itself (firewise construction).
Land Use Planning to Reduce Wildfire Risk: Lessons from Five Western Cities
January 2016, PDF 4 MB
Case studies show how five urban areas in the West are using innovative land use planning tools to adapt to the increasing risks from wildfires.
Living With Fire: How Social Scientists are Helping Wildland Urban Interface Communities Reduce Wildfire Risk
May/June 2016, PDF 1 MB
WUI communities have a wide range of social, political and economic characteristics that make a “cookie-cutter” approach to wildfire management planning unrealistic and ultimately ineffective. This research paper explores the diversity of U.S. WUI community types to aid in the development of tools and strategies that improve collaboration between agencies, organizations, communities and residents, and in enhancing WUI communities’ long-term social capacity to address wildfire risk.
Wildland/Urban Interface: Fire Department Wildfire Preparedness and Readiness Capabilities – Final Report
January 2017
This National Fire Protection Association report describes how some fire departments are addressing the wildfire threat and becoming better prepared for, and ready to control and mitigate, a wildfire incident in their communities.
Critical Success Factor – FEMA Grants: Final Report and Action Plan
November 2016, PDF 619 KB
This report provides recommendations for various FEMA grant programs to improve community wildfire mitigation and increase resilience to wildfire.
Does Insurance Affect Home Development on Wildfire-Prone Lands?
June 2016
This briefing paper explores whether insurance rates and policies steer new development away from fire prone lands, and whether insurance rates and policies reduce the risk from wildfires to existing development.
Research and Development Wildland Fire and Fuels Accomplishments and Outcomes
May 2017, PDF 1.4 MB
This report focuses on wildland fire management and response outcomes — in the context of fire and fuels research and development at the Forest Service — that have transformed the business of wildland fire in the United States.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Wildfire Mitigation Activities in the Wildland-Urban Interface
October 2015, PDF 5 MB
This report identifies successful approaches to reducing the wildfire hazard in the WUI and presents strategies for creating successful Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
How Risk Management Can Prevent Future Wildfire Disaster in the Wildland-Urban Interface
December 2013
This article examines the conditions under which WUI wildfire disasters occur and introduces a wildfire risk assessment framework.
Scanning the Future of Wildfire: Resilience Ahead ... Whether We Like It or Not?
January 2016, PDF 5.6 MB
Futures researchers and wildfire specialists describe what they envision for future wildfire impacts and how the wildfire community may respond to the complex suite of emerging challenges.
Wildfire: A Changing Landscape, A Global Resilience Institute (GRI) & National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Assessment
December 2017, PDF 6.5 MB
This report looks at the impacts of wildfire on vulnerable communities and critical infrastructure.
Voices from the Field: Wildland Fire Managers and High-Reliability Organizing Mindfulness
Using data gathered from experienced fire managers, the authors identify relevant examples that illustrate each high-reliability organizing (HRO) mindfulness behavior. They then focus on specific language choices encountered in these examples and suggest how these choices might add to the applicability for both HRO theorizing and practice.