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Project ID: 11-1-3-29

Year: 2011

Date Started: 10/01/2011

Ending Date:  09/30/2015

Title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mitigations Activities in the Wildland Urban Interface

Project Proposal Abstract: Despite the increasing frequency and losses from WUI fires, there has been relatively little research, compared to fires within structures, on WUI fire spread. This is due, in part, to the fact that the subject of WUI fire research falls between traditional studies of building fires and forest fires, non-overlapping areas that in the past have been the responsibility of different branches of the government. To date, no study that measures the effectiveness of current risk mitigation practices, whether through wildland fuel treatments or modification of residential fuels, has been conducted. The NIST WUI Team with support from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) initiated a case study within the Witch fire perimeter. The case study is focused on The Trails development at Rancho Bernardo, within the City of San Diego. There were 274 homes in The Trails, with 245 within the fire perimeter. Seventy four homes were completely destroyed and 16 were partly damaged. The data collected and the data analysis conducted are divided into three initial papers. The NIST Technical Note 1635 documents the event timeline construction, general fire behavior observations and defensive actions on community structures. The field data collection effort took approximately 1300 person hours over 14 months. Field data were collected by NIST personnel and CAL FIRE Fire Marshals with the support of residents, and the San Diego Fire and Police Departments. Field measurements included structure particulars, specifically roof type, proximity of combustibles to the structure, and damage to wildland and residential vegetation. Documentation included over 11,000 digital photo images. The second paper (work in progress) will explore the response of structures within The Trails to the WUI fire. Specifically, the second paper will apply different WUI hazard reduction guidelines to the community and determine how well the guidelines match the observed structure responses to the fire. The second paper will explicitly look at the structure construction and ornamental vegetation impact of structure survivability. A third paper will then be developed to compare the outputs of different fire models to the observed fire behavior and structural fire responses in the community. NIST has developed a preliminary two phase WUI data collection and analysis framework. This work has been developed to date with input from California (San Diego County, City of San Diego, Riverside County, La County, CALFIRE) and Texas (Texas Forest Service). The first phase or WUI 1 is a one page checklist aimed at collecting standardized information from fire affected structures within the fire perimeter. The second phase or WUI 2 is an extensive data collection methodology that is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based. The WUI 1 and WUI 2 data collection methodologies are based on the data collection and analysis knowledge responding to the 2007 Witch/Guejito fires in Southern California, the 2009 Station fire outside Los Angeles California and the 2009 Australian Fire Storm. The proposed effort will use the NIST WUI 2 GIS-based data collection methodology. Data collections will be conducted in two states with very significant WUI fire problems, namely California and Texas. The major components of the proposed effort are to: - identify WUI communities of interest in California and Texas - train field data collectors - conduct pre-fire data collections in California and/or Texas - conduct post-fire data collections  locations may be outside California or Texas - analyze the data - identify the effectiveness of mitigation actions - document results - document entire methodology to enable future work both in similar as well as in differing ecosystems and building constructions communities

Principal Investigator: Alexander Maranghides

Agency/Organization: NIST-National Institute of Standards & Technology

Branch or Dept: Engineering Laboratory


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Collaborator/Contributor

Robert E. Vihnanek

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Federal Cooperator

William E. Mell

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances


Project Locations

Consortium

California

Great Plains


Level

State

Agency

Unit

NATIONAL

STATE


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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