Fire Technology

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 475–515 | Cite as

A Review of Pathways for Building Fire Spread in the Wildland Urban Interface Part II: Response of Components and Systems and Mitigation Strategies in the United States

  • Raquel S. P. Hakes
  • Sara E. Caton
  • Daniel J. Gorham
  • Michael J. Gollner


Structure loss in wildland fires has significantly increased over the past few decades, affected by increased development in rural areas, changing fuel management policies, and climate change, all of which are projected to increase in the future. This paper is Part II of a two-part review, which presents a summary of fundamental and applied research on pathways to fire spread in the wildland urban interface. Part I discussed the fundamentals of wildland fire spread via radiative heat transfer, direct flame contact, and firebrand exposure. Here in Part II, we cover the response of building components and systems, as well as mitigation strategies used to prevent fire spread into and within communities in the United States. Post-fire investigations, full-scale structural testing, individual component testing, and combined systems or assembly testing have been used to identify building component and system vulnerabilities such as roofs, vents, siding, decks, fences, and mulch. Using results from these tests and investigations at different scales, some knowledge has been gained on specific vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies, but a quantitative framework has not yet been established. On a community level, the layout of structures and the space between them has been shown to be incredibly important in mitigating wildfire risk. More locally, defensible space around homes has been effective in mitigating exposure from both radiation and direct flame contact. Firebrands still remain a challenge; however, many design recommendations have been proposed to harden structures against firebrand exposures. Recommendations for future research and development are also presented.


Wildland urban interface WUI Wildfire Wildland fire Firebrands Embers Fire spread 



The authors would like to acknowledge the National Fire Protection Association, Fire Protection Research Foundation, the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology under financial assistance award 70NANB15H176, and the Joint Fire Science Program under project JFSP 15-1-04-4 for financial support of this project. They would also like to thank Casey Grant for his efforts coordinating this project, Kyle Kohler for his assistance compiling data, and comments from many experts in the field, especially Randall Bradley, Nelson Bryner, Jack Cohen, Ryan Depew, Steve Gage, Samuel Manzello, Alexander Maranghides, Don Oaks, Stephen Quarles, Michele Steinberg, Kevin Tolhurst and Rick Swan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel S. P. Hakes
    • 1
  • Sara E. Caton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel J. Gorham
    • 3
  • Michael J. Gollner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fire Protection EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Engineering Laboratory, Fire Research DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  3. 3.Fire Protection Research FoundationQuincyUSA

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