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Research Released on Wildfire Damage

January 8, 2016

The Wildland-Urban Interface (aka, the WUI) are areas across the country where the built environment bumps up against forested areas.  The WUI zone, which contains 46 million single family homes, several hundred thousands of businesses and a population of more than 120 million and growing, is also at a higher risk from wildfires. 

A recent report released by the National Institute on Standards and Technology highlights some of these risks, including:

  • Since 2000, in the U.S., over 3,000 homes on average per year have been lost to WUI fires.  This is compared to about 900 homes per year in the 90's and 400 homes per year in the 80's.
  • In 2011, in Texas alone, over 2,000 homes were destroyed in WUI wildfires.
  • In Colorado, from June 2012 through June 2013, a total of 1,103 homes were destroyed.

Factors for this increase in damage and destruction includes more frequent and more severe wildfires, the long-term drought in the western states, poor management of forested areas and increased development in the WUI zone.

Researchers believe the information included in the report can provide input, to improve WUI building codes, standards and best practices.