Published in Third Fire Ecology & Management Congress, November 1, 2006, pages 1-2. Copyright © 2006 The Association for Fire Ecology.
Fire and fuels management in the wildland-urban interface is a multifaceted aggregation of biophysical and sociopolitical components. To best insure sustainable communities in the wildland-urban interface, stakeholders from a diversity of disciplines and worldviews must collaborate to develop a management plan for a given area that minimizes fire risk while simultaneously maximizing the benefits that distinct vegetation types and structures provide. This paper discusses critical elements that must be considered in order to maintain sustainable communities in the wildland-urban interface. These factors include fuels treatments, suppression forces, enforceable infrastructure and construction standards, and community education, each of which will vary dependent on the ecosystem and socioeconomic conditions of a given area. Further, the effects of various fuels treatments are also explored in terms of tradeoffs between mitigating fire behavior versus the loss of multiple benefits that vegetation provides.