"Current population growth and the expanding development of North America into traditionally nonurban areas have increasingly brought humans into contact with wild-fires. Between 1985 and 1994, wildfires destroyed more than 9,000 homes in the United States. Generally, these homes were located in areas 'where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels,' also known as the wildland/urban interface or intermix (WUI). Both the definition and the development of the WUI are controversial subjects for government officials, developers, and the fire service. By one account, nearly 38% of new home construction in the Western United States is on properties adjacent to or inter-mixed with WUI. Nationally, the continuing development of the WUI raises serious public policy and land use issues. Agencies at the local, state, and federal levels need to work together to define areas as being in the WUI and then to find ways to provide services, including fire protection, to developments on these lands. Moreover, individual communities and homeowners must be willing to accept a high degree of responsibility for protecting their homes from wildfire. This report examines the socioeconomic implications of WUI fires, the unique challenges such fires pose to the fire service, and WUI fire prevention programs."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (March 2002), v.2 no.16