Modeling fire susceptibility to delineate wildland-urban interface for municipal-scale fire risk management
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): E. Whitman; E. Rapaport; K. Sherren
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • fire management
  • NDVI - Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
  • peri-urban
  • remote sensing
  • risk management
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 13, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 52408
Tall Timbers Record Number: 29512
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is the region where development meets and intermingles with wildlands. The WUI has an elevated fire risk due to the proximity of development and residents to wildlands with natural wildfire regimes. Existing methods of delineating WUI are typically applied over a large region, use proxies for risk, and do not consider site-specific fire hazard drivers. While these models are appropriate for federal and provincial risk management, municipal managers require models intended for smaller regions. The model developed here uses the Burn-P3 fire behavior model to model WUI from local fire susceptibility (FS) in two study communities. Forest fuel code (FFC) maps for the study communities were modified using remote sensing data to produce detailed forest edges, including ladder fuels, update data currency, and add buildings and roads. The modified FFC maps used in Burn-P3 produced bimodal FS distributions for each community. The WUI in these communities was delineated as areas within community bounds where FS was greater than or equal to --1 SD from the mean FS value (WUI FS ³ 1 [(c¯) s]) , which fell in the trough of the bimodal distribution. The WUI so delineated conformed to the definition of WUI. This model extends WUI modeling for broader risk management initiatives for municipal management of risk, as it (a) considers site-specific drivers of fire behavior; (b) models risk, represented by WUI, specific to a community; and, (c) does not use proxies for risk. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013.

Whitman, E., E. Rapaport, and K. Sherren. 2013. Modeling fire susceptibility to delineate wildland-urban interface for municipal-scale fire risk management. Environmental Management, v. 52, no. 6, p. 1427-1439. 10.1007/s00267-013-0159-9.