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The term, “wildland urban interface” (WUI) refers to the area where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuel. When development encroaches into wildland – areas that have been minimally impacted by human activities – the wildfire threat to life and property increases. A wildfire risk profile for the WUI in Travis County, Texas was created using a geographic information system (GIS). Historic wildfire records were linked to land cover types to identify the empirical relationship between fuels and ground cover. Topographical characteristics, land cover types, and housing density were combined to estimate wildfire risk. Risk levels for communities within and outside the WUI were compared. Analyses also compared wildfire risk levels for different types of WUI areas, which are distinguished based on vegetation coverage percentages and housing density. Findings indicate that in Travis County, TX, the wildfire risk is highest in high-density WUI areas, pointing to an urgent need for special fire control and fire regulations in this development zone. Vacant lands, which are likely future development sites, could be used by land managers to reduce wildfire risk if they can be managed as natural fire breaks or fuel freezones.
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- Wildfire Risk Analysis at the Wildland Urban Interface in Travis County, Texas
Pamela S. Showalter
- Springer Netherlands
- Chapter 10
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