Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Acronym in fire ecology: WUI for wildland urban interface

In geography and ecology, WUI  stands for wildland urban interface, also written wildland-urban interface” [1]. This is the belt or zone of transition between urban development and unoccupied land, such as forests and wildlife habitats. The WUI itself and adjacent areas on both sides are at high fire risk during dry seasons and conditions of strong winds. 

Wendy Tokuda, a journalist and Oakland hills (California) dweller, writes about efforts of WUI management in the Berkeley-Oakland Hills—an area that is particularly at danger when the dry and warm Diablo winds (named after Mount Diablo, a mountain in Contra Costa County northeast of Danville) are blowing from the east [2,3]. Wildfires can be natural,  but WUI fires are mostly caused by humans; in Tokuda's words [2]:
Almost all of the fires in the so-called “wildland urban interface (WUI or “wooie,” as some call it) are caused by people. Some are outright arson, but others are started inadvertently with cars, power tools, or burning leaves or debris. Either way, the bottom line is people cause fires, and there are a lot of people in California.
And in Colorada, Arizona, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Turkey, India, China, Australia, ...

Keywords: fire prevention, fire hazard, urban landscaping, firefighting, wooies.

References and more to explore
[1] IAFC - International Association of Fire Chiefs: Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) [www.iafc.org/Education/Events.cfm?itemnumber=4640].
[2] Wendy Tokuda: Taming the flames: Wildland fire in the East Bay Hills. Bay Nature July-September 2012, 46-50.
[3] East Bay Parks: Fire Ecology and Management. Part II in “Jul-Sep 2012 Issue Photo/Artwork Needs Bulletin” [baynature.org/about/image-needs].

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