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Wildland Urban Interface and Fire Facts

What is the Wildland Urban Interface?

Wildland Urban Interface
Wildland Urban Interface

The wildland-urban interface is the area where urban and suburban development meets undeveloped areas containing natural vegetation. It can be a beautiful, quiet place to live, but with the benefits of being near nature come risks. One of the most pressing is wildfire.

Within the greater WUI, areas are classified as to their relative fire hazard severity zones. Eighty percent of Marin County is designated as having moderate to very high fire hazard severity ratings. These are areas in mountains, foothills, and canyons where adjacency to vegetated areas, difficulty of access, and weather patterns pose greater risk of wildfire. CAL FIRE and the local fire response agency have determined where these areas are and require the management of vegetative fuels near buildings. To find out if your property is in a fire hazard severity zone, contact your local fire agency. Here’s more on the fire ecology of California.

Photo source: https://ucanr.edu/sites/SAFELandscapes/

Fire Facts

  • California wildfires are becoming more frequent, intense, and destructive. There are many reasons why, including more wildland vegetation, more development in the WUI, and the pervasive effects of climate change: more heat over longer periods, more wind, and less moisture.
  • Embers are the most significant cause of home ignition in wildfires. Embers are small pieces of burning material that can travel more than a mile from a wildfire. They can create spot fires when they land on combustible materials such as dry leaves in your gutter.
  • Fire starts when oxygen and heat come in contact with fuel. Fuel is anything that burns. Don’t be fuelish! Common sources of fuel during a wildfire include:
    • Dry or dead trees, shrubs, perennials
    • Mulch
    • Garden tools and brooms
    • Green waste containers
    • Garden and patio furniture and cushions
    • Jute or natural fiber door mats
    • Stack of wood