Wildland-Urban Interface Fires

Wildland-Urban Interface FiresA wildland–urban interface refers to the area of transition between unoccupied land and human development. Fires located in wildland-urban interface areas pose complex problems involving several factors unique to the hazard. Our team of fire experts have a comprehensive understanding of fire behavior gained through the observation and study of past devastating urban-wildfires. Furthermore, our team is familiar with the building safety and fire prevention codes and ordinances that address the mitigation of urban-wildland interface hazards.The purpose of these codes and ordinances is to assist in the mitigation and suppression of fire and life safety hazards in areas prone to wildfires. Regulations address both land use and the built environment, and construction requirements based on the exposure hazards to which the structure may be subjected.

The objective of a wildland fire exposure risk analysis, also referred to as a wildland interface analysis, is to identify the fire and life safety hazards of an urban-wildland interface area. The analysis establishes objectives and constraints for managing those hazards; compares various strategies for fire management alternatives; evaluates the expected effects of those alternatives against important local, regional, or national criteria and, finally, recommends and documents the preferred alternative(s) to best protect life and reduce risk of property damage.



Fire Hazard Analysis

Our engineers will perform detailed analyses of fire hazard for communities, businesses, or industrial facilities. We can:

  • Help develop and review Wildland Fire Protection Plans
  • Estimate Wildland Fire Exposure Risk.
  • Provide our analysis based on accepted methodologies such as FireWise, FireSmart, or NFPA standards.

Fire Design / Loss Prevention

We can help our clients to follow the established rules and best practice or to design specific solutions for fire exposure in order to protect their high-value assets. This includes regulatory consulting to ensure compliance with building codes or engineering design to develop highly specialized solutions to specific problems at the scale of the WUI or at the level of a specific building, such as:

  • Compliance studies through ICC’s International Wildland-Urban Interface Code or California’s Wildland-Urban Interface Code.
  • Impact / prevention studies on vegetation management, potential fire behavior, as well as heat flux, firebrand, and smoke impact on structures.
  • The level of detail can go down to the study of the flammability of construction materials or ornamental vegetation and the use of insulation materials and coatings.

Feedback Studies

Our company has expertise in conducting post-fire, lessons-learned studies to help our clients understanding their vulnerabilities that led to loss and how they can mitigate them in the future. We can help our clients:

  • Improve their wildland fire procedures, including reporting, alert, egress, and firefighting.
  • Find ways to limit fire spread to and through their facilities and sites.
  • Organize their facilities or communities to be more resilient to wildland fires.

Project Experience

Wildland fire exposure risk analysis for large DOE complexes

  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site,
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Pantex Plant
  • Hanford Site
  • Idaho National Laboratory/Idaho Cleanup Project

Fire Protection Condition Assessments for the National Park Service

National Parks, Nationwide
Evaluation of the Urban Wildland Interface requirements or building in numerous National Parks throughout the country and determination of the building’s compliance.

Vegetation Management Studies, Nationwide
Including plan development, implementation, and auditing for vegetation management companies, as well as audit development and auditing for pre-inspection companies.


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Contact Us Today:

Contact us today using our online form or by contacting one of our many regional branches. For specific questions regarding JENSEN HUGHES’ Wildland Fire Investigations services, please contact:

Albert Simeoni, PhD, CFEI Kevin H. Lewis PE, CFEI, CFII, CFI, CVFI, PI Paul T. Way PE, CFI, CFEI, PI
+1 508-620-8900 +1 425-775-5550 +1 425-775-5550