Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Fire-smart Landscaping - Wildland Urban Interface

Wildland Urban Interface. Source: UCANR
Wildland Urban Interface. Source: UCANR
What is the Wildland Urban Interface?

Fire is an inevitable part of living in California, and there are ways to be prepared.  Building resistance in the surrounding landscape, the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) area. and in and around your structures are necessary to improve your chances of withstanding wildland fire. 

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, but others include risky interactions with wildlife such as bears and mountain lions, as well as physical phenomena such as floods and landslides.

Within the greater WUI, areas are classified as to their relative fire hazard severity zones. 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 fire response agency in each local jurisdiction 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.

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