Report: WUI Firefighting Needs Combined Strategies

November 10, 2015

A study of the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire recommends that crews fighting similar fires that spread into urban areas be trained in both structure protection and traditional wildland firefighting tactics. 

Alex Maranghides, fire protection engineer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST says the investigation shows defensive measures specifically designed for the wildland urban interface, or WUI, can benefit firefighting efforts.

"We have great protocols for responding to wildland fires, and we have decades of experience of handling structural fires," Maranghides says, "but we have very little knowledge of how to safely and effectively respond to these WUI fires."

Maranghides says the fire fighters during Waldo Canyon were able to save 75% of the structures that caught fire due in part to taking WUI conditions into account. 

NIST is now working on developing a data collection system after WUI fires and a WUI hazard scale.