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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Firefighting: Wildland Urban Interface: History

A wildland urban interface refers to the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development, where human-made improvements intermix with wildland fuels.

Facts & Statistics: Wildfires

IFSI's library also houses several books about the history of wildland and rural firefighting.  Check them out on our library materials tab!

In Recent US History

"Wildland fire suppression operations successfully control ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent of all wildfires at initial attack, and structure firefighters typically limit a fire within a single structure or prevent the fire from spreading beyond that structure. However, when residential development is exposed to extreme wildfire conditions, numerous houses can ignite and burn simultaneously, overwhelming firefighters and reducing fire protection effectiveness. Thus, WUI fire disasters principally occur during the extreme fire behavior conditions that account for the one to three percent of the wildfires that escape initial attack control. Table 1 lists WUI fire disasters between 1990 and 2007. Every one of these disasters occurred because extreme fire behavior conditions overwhelmed the firefighting resources."