Natural Hazards

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 181–199 | Cite as

WUIVAC: a wildland-urban interface evacuation trigger model applied in strategic wildfire scenarios

  • Philip E. DennisonEmail author
  • Thomas J. Cova
  • Max A. Mortiz
Original Paper


An evacuation trigger is a point on the landscape that, once crossed by a wildfire, triggers an evacuation for a community. The Wildland-Urban Interface Evacuation (WUIVAC) model can be used to create evacuation trigger buffers around a community using fuels, weather, and topographic inputs. A strategic, community-scale application of WUIVAC for the town of Julian, California was investigated. Eight years of wind measurements were used to determine the worst-case (strongest) winds in 16 directions. Surface fire rate of spread was used to calculate evacuation trigger buffers for the communities of Julian and nearby Whispering Pines, and for three potential evacuation routes. Multiple trigger buffers were combined to create fire planning areas, and trigger buffers that predict the closure of all evacuation routes were explored. WUIVAC trigger buffers offer several potential benefits for strategic evacuation planning, including determination of when to evacuate and locating potential evacuation routes.


Fire behavior Wildfire Evacuation modeling Natural hazards 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip E. Dennison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas J. Cova
    • 1
  • Max A. Mortiz
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, Department of GeographyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Center for Fire Research and Outreach, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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