FEMA and USFA Release Report on Urban Wildland Interface

WASHINGTON — FEMA’s US Fire Administration released the report “Wildland Urban Interface: A Look at Issues and Resolutions” earlier this week.

The report aims to raise awareness and initiate collaborative efforts to facilitate change following the catastrophic losses caused by wildfires in the urban wilderness interface. This report highlights nature interface issues in the United States and will help the wildland and structural firefighting community and neighborhoods unite around key actions to reduce risk to them- themselves, for firefighters and for the environment.

“Wildfires are no longer seasonal events – fueled by climate change, they destroy lives and property year-round,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Our communities have battled the most devastating wildfires in the country in the past few years alone, with wildfires accounting for 62% of structures lost in the past 15 years. It is clear that we simply cannot avoid the work needed to mitigate future risks,” she said. “In addition to the mitigation grants that FEMA provides to state and local communities to build their climate resilience to wildfires, this Wildland Urban Interface report presents a unified strategic approach to risk reduction at the national, state, regional and local to achieve this critical goal.

Wildfires are among the worst natural and man-made disasters facing our country. Factors such as climate change and reduced land management practices contribute significantly to the cause, increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

“While the resolutions to the identified challenges may seem daunting, they are achievable,” said Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, Administrator of the US Fire Administration. “Together, we can act to change the trajectory of America’s growing wildfire threat and create resilient landscapes for generations to come.”

Federal agencies are working with partners to address many of the wilderness interface challenges discussed in this report. These efforts include:

  • Increase the resilience of forests and rangelands through prescribed burning and mechanical thinning.
  • Strengthening communication strategies and engagement operations through forest fire prevention and mitigation programs.
  • Proactively plan for and mitigate the ongoing effects of climate change.

Other high priority areas of the report also focus on the health and safety of firefighters, particularly mental and behavioral health, and public safety through improved evacuation procedures with efforts such as reverse 911. .

To help prepare you and your family for wildfires, visit Ready.gov/wildfires.