Environmental Management

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 1427–1439 | Cite as

Modeling Fire Susceptibility to Delineate Wildland–Urban Interface for Municipal-Scale Fire Risk Management

Article

Abstract

The wildland–urban interface (WUI) is the region where development meets and intermingles with wildlands. The WUI has an elevated fire risk due to the proximity of development and residents to wildlands with natural wildfire regimes. Existing methods of delineating WUI are typically applied over a large region, use proxies for risk, and do not consider site-specific fire hazard drivers. While these models are appropriate for federal and provincial risk management, municipal managers require models intended for smaller regions. The model developed here uses the Burn-P3 fire behavior model to model WUI from local fire susceptibility (FS) in two study communities. Forest fuel code (FFC) maps for the study communities were modified using remote sensing data to produce detailed forest edges, including ladder fuels, update data currency, and add buildings and roads. The modified FFC maps used in Burn-P3 produced bimodal FS distributions for each community. The WUI in these communities was delineated as areas within community bounds where FS was greater than or equal to −1 SD from the mean FS value (\({\text{WUI}} = {\text{FS}} \geqslant - 1 \, [\bar \chi - \sigma ]\)), which fell in the trough of the bimodal distribution. The WUI so delineated conformed to the definition of WUI. This model extends WUI modeling for broader risk management initiatives for municipal management of risk, as it (a) considers site-specific drivers of fire behavior; (b) models risk, represented by WUI, specific to a community; and, (c) does not use proxies for risk.

Keywords

Wildland–urban interface Peri-urban Wildfire Risk management NDVI Remote sensing 

References

  1. Action for Neighbourhood Change (2005) Spryfield—a community on the go! Halifax, Nova Scotia. http://www.anccommunity.ca/Downloads/Spryfield_Snapshot.pdf. Retrieved August 24, 2012
  2. Alvey A (2006) Promoting and preserving biodiversity in the urban forest. Urban For Urban Green 5:195–201. doi:10.1016/j.ufug.2006.09.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beverly JL, Bothwell P, Conner JCR, Herd EPK (2010) Assessing the exposure of the built environment to potential ignition sources generated from vegetative fuel. Int J Wildland Fire 19:299–313. doi:10.1071/WF09071 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bollman RD, Clemenson HA (2006) Structure and change in Canada’s rural demography: an update to 2006 with provincial detail. Statistics Canada, Ottawa, pp 1–136Google Scholar
  5. Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2005) Canadian wildland fire strategy: a vision for an innovative and integrated approach to managing the risks. Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, Edmonton, pp 1–18Google Scholar
  6. Canadian Forest Service (2012) Burn-P3 [software]. Canadian Forest Service, Edmonton. www.firegrowthmodel.ca. Retrieved January 12, 2012
  7. Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (2011a) Burn-P3. http://firegrowthmodel.ca/burnp3.html. Retrieved December 2, 2011
  8. Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (2011b) Prometheus: the Canadian wildland fire growth model. http://firegrowthmodel.ca/. Retrieved December 7, 2011
  9. Carlson TN, Ripley DA (1997) On the relation between NDVI, fractional vegetation cover, and leaf area index. Remote Sens Environ 62(3):241–252. doi:10.1016/S0034-4257(97)00104-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CBC News (2012, May 21) Evacuation lifted for homes near Halifax brush fire. CBC News. Halifax. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2012/05/21/ns-williams-lake-fire.html. Retrieved August 16, 2012
  11. Cooper T (2010) Strategic risk management in the municipal and public sector: an exploration of critical success factors and barriers to strategic risk management within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Harris Centre, Memorial University, St. John’s, pp 1–85Google Scholar
  12. Defries RS, Townshend JRG (1994) NDVI-derived land cover classification at a global scale. Int J Remote Sens 15(17):3567–3586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Demir N, Poli D, Baltsavias E (2008) Extraction of buildings and trees using images and LiDAR data. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  14. Fanning W (2010) Director view: Nova Scotia challenges and opportunities. Wildland Fire Can. 2010 present. Kitchener, p 23Google Scholar
  15. Gering LR, Chun AV, Anderson S (1998) Defining and predicting urban–wildland interface zones using a GIS-based model. In: Integrated tools proceedings, Boise, Idaho, pp 457–463Google Scholar
  16. Greater Halifax Partnership (2005) Economic profile of Greater Halifax: chart book. Greater Halifax Partnership, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  17. Greater Halifax Partnership (2007) The Spryfield business case. Greater Halifax Partnership, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  18. Haight RG, Cleland DT, Hammer RB, Radeloff VC, Rupp TS (2004) Assessing fire risk in the wildland–urban interface. J For 102:41–48Google Scholar
  19. Hajek P (2010) Fuzzy logic. In: Zalata EN (ed) Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Fall 2010 edn). http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-fuzzy/. Retrieved August 30, 2012
  20. Halifax Regional Municipality (2006) Regional municipal planning strategy. Halifax Regional Municipality, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  21. Halifax Regional Municipality (2011a) Halifax Regional Municipality geodatabase. Halifax Regional Municipality, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  22. Halifax Regional Municipality (2011b) Regional municipal planning strategy: Beaver Bank, Hammonds Plains and Upper Sackville. Halifax Regional Municipality, HalifaxGoogle Scholar
  23. Halifax Regional Municipality (2012) Halifax Regional Municipality urban forest master plan. Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax, pp 1–451Google Scholar
  24. Hammer RB, Stewart SI, Radeloff VC (2009) Demographic trends, the wildland–urban interface, and wildfire management. Soc Nat Resour 22(8):777–782. doi:10.1080/08941920802714042 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hardy CC (2005) Wildland fire hazard and risk: problems, definitions, and context. For Ecol Manag 211(1–2):73–82. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2005.01.029 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harris R (2004) In: Heron C (ed) Creeping conformity: how Canada became suburban, 1900–1960. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp 1–204Google Scholar
  27. Hirsch KG (n.d.) Canada’s wildland–urban interface: challenges and solutions. Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  28. Hirsch KG, Fuglem P (2006) Canadian wildland fire strategy: background syntheses, analyses and perspectives. Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, EdmontonGoogle Scholar
  29. Jensen JR (2000) In: Clarke KC (ed) Remote sensing of the environment: an earth resource perspective. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  30. Johnson EA (1992) Fire and vegetation dynamics: studies from the North American boreal forest. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kurt M, Scott L (2007) Fire climbing in the forest: a semiqualitative, semiquantitative approach to assessing ladder fuel hazards. West J Appl For 22(2):88–93Google Scholar
  32. Lauzon È, Bergeron Y, Gauthier S, Kneeshaw D (2006) Fire cycles and forest management: an alternative approach for management of the Canadian boreal forest. Sustainable Forest Management Network, Edmonton, pp 1–16Google Scholar
  33. Loo J, Ives N (2003) The Acadian forest: historical condition and human impacts. For Chron 79(3):462–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mandel J, Beezley JD, Coen JL, Kim M (2009) Data assimilation for wildland fires: ensemble Kalman filters in coupled atmosphere-surface models. IEEE Control Systems Magazine (June), pp 47–65Google Scholar
  35. McKinney ML (2002) Urbanization, biodiversity and conservation. Bioscience 52(10):883–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Myneni RB, Hall FG, Sellers PJ, Marshak AL (1995) The interpretation of spectral vegetation indexes. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 33(2):481–486. doi:10.1109/36.377948 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. National Institute of Standards and Technology (2012) NIST and forest service create world’s first hazard scale for wildland fires. http://www.nist.gov/el/fire_research/wildland-fire-hazard-scale-120512.cfm. Retrieved May 13, 2013
  38. Neily P, Quigley E, Stewart B, Keys K (2007) Forest disturbance ecology in Nova Scotia. Methodology. Truro, Nova ScotiaGoogle Scholar
  39. Neily P, Basquill S, Quigley E, Stewart B, Keys K (2011) Forest ecosystem classification for Nova Scotia—part I: vegetation types (2010). Forestry. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, TruroGoogle Scholar
  40. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (2010, January 4) Basic forest fire suppression course. http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/forestprotection/wildfire/bffsc/. Retrieved December 7, 2011
  41. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (2011) Nova Scotia wildfire statistics. http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/forestprotection/wildfire/stats/. Retrieved December 5, 2011
  42. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (2012) Forest interpretation cycle 1 & 2, current forest data. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, TruroGoogle Scholar
  43. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (1994a) T10.2 successional trends in vegetation. Natural history of Nova Scotia, vol I. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, pp 189–191Google Scholar
  44. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (1994b) T10.1 vegetation change. Natural history of Nova Scotia, vol 1. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, pp 186–188Google Scholar
  45. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (1994c) H6 introduction to forests. Natural history of Nova Scotia, vol I. Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Halifax, pp 480–482Google Scholar
  46. Our HRM Alliance (2012) Meet growth targets. http://www.ourhrmalliance.ca/4-meet-growth-targets. Retrieved August 15, 2012
  47. Partners in Protection (2003) FireSmart: protecting your community from wildfire. Partners in Protection, Edmonton, pp 1–39Google Scholar
  48. Priestnall G, Jaafar J, Duncan A (2000) Extracting urban features from LiDAR digital surface models. Comput Environ Urban Syst 24:65–78. doi:10.1016/S0198-9715(99)00047-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Stewart SI (2005a) Rural and suburban sprawl in the U.S. Midwest from 1940 to 2000 and its relation to forest fragmentation. Conserv Biol 19(3):793–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Stewart SI, Fried JS, Holcomb SS, McKeefry JF (2005b) The wildland–urban interface in the United States. Ecol Appl 15(3):799–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Randall CK, Hermansen-Báez LA, Acomb G (2009) Fire in the wildland–urban interface: reducing wildfire risk while achieving other landscaping goals. University of Florida IFAS Extension, Gainesville, pp 1–8Google Scholar
  52. Seto KC, Fragkias M, Güneralp B, Reilly MK (2011) A meta-analysis of global urban land expansion. PLoS ONE 6(8):1–9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023777 Google Scholar
  53. Shea I (2012) Fires in our wooded areas wreak havoc in local communities. Chebucto News, Halifax, p 4Google Scholar
  54. Shiers K (2010) Halifax firefighters made changes after wildfires, but won’t give details. The Canadian Press. http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.dal.ca/docview/220047076?accountid=10406. Retrieved January 25, 2012
  55. Statistics Canada (2007) Census geography—data. http://geodepot.statcan.ca/Diss/Data/Boundary_Files/Boundary_Files_e.cfm. Retrieved August 24, 2012
  56. Statistics Canada (2011) Report on the demographic situation in Canada. Statistics Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  57. Stewart SI, Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Hawbaker TJ (2007) Defining the wildland–urban interface. J For 105:201–207Google Scholar
  58. Teplitsky A, LeClair T, Willison M (2006) We are Spryfield: our community profile 2006. Action for Neighbourhood Change, Halifax, pp 1–79Google Scholar
  59. The Canadian Press (2008) Suspects identified but not enough evidence to lay charges in N.S. wildfire. The Canadian Press. http://global.factiva.com.ezproxy.library.dal.ca/ga/default.aspx. Retrieved January 25, 2012
  60. Theobald DM, Romme WH (2007) Expansion of the US wildland–urban interface. Landsc Urban Plan 83:340–354. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2007.06.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Turcotte M (2008) The city/suburb contrast: how can we measure it? Life in metropolitan areas. Statistics Canada, Ottawa, pp 1–19Google Scholar
  62. United Nations (2011) World urbanization prospects: the 2011 revision. United Nations, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  63. “Urban wildland interface communities within the vicinity of federal lands that are at high risk from wildfire, notice.” 66 Federal Register 3 (January 4, 2001), pp 751–777Google Scholar
  64. USDA Forest Service (2010) FARSITE overview. http://www.firemodels.org/index.php/farsite-introduction/farsite-overview. Retrieved May 14, 2013
  65. Vince SW, Duryea ML, Macie EA, Hermansen LA (eds) (2005) Forests at the wildland–urban interface: conservation and management. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  66. Weier J, Herring D (2011, August 30) Measuring vegetation (NDVI & EVI). NASA Earth Observatory. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/MeasuringVegetation/. Retrieved December 1, 2011
  67. Wein RW, Moore JM (1979) Fire history and recent fire rotation periods in the Nova Scotia Acadian forest. Can J For Res 9:166–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Winter G, McCaffrey S, Vogt CA (2009) The role of community policies in defensible space compliance. For Policy Econ 11(8):570–578. doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2009.07.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School for Resource and Environmental StudiesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.School of PlanningDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations