A very interesting read on the growth of the wildland-urban interface from scientists with the USDA Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is now available. Scientists tracked changes in the nation’s WUI over a 20-year time span that revealed the area has expanded by more than 46 million acres (an area larger than Washington State), with one-third of all homes in the U.S. now located in areas that are near or intermingled with forests and grasslands.
Authors of the study, “Rapid growth of the U.S. Wildland-Urban Interface raises wildfire risk” published March 12, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found both the number of homes in the WUI and its total footprint are growing rapidly, with many implications for wildfire management and other natural resource management issues.
In addition to the article, make sure to catch an excellent new video, “A Better Way to Think About Wildfires” produced by the USDA Forest Service with the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. It's a great resource to share with stakeholders at all levels. Using a creative approach that includes drone footage and video that illustrates the physics of fire from the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, it explains the benefits of healthy fire to forest ecosystems.
Grab a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to read the article and watch the video!