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Research: Guidance on Design and Construction of the Built Environment Against Wildland Urban Interface Fire Hazard: A Review

September 23, 2020

Professor Steve Gwynne, alongside colleagues at Lund University, Sweden and the National Research Council, Canada have recently published a review on "Guidance on Design and Construction of the Built Environment Against Wildland Urban Interface Fire Hazard"

ABSTRACT

Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires, a worldwide problem, are gaining more importance over time due to climate change and increased urbanization in WUI areas. Some jurisdictions have provided standards, codes and guidelines, which may greatly help planning, prevention and protection against wildfires. This work presents a wide systematic review of standards, codes and guidelines for the design and construction of the built environment against WUI fire hazard from North American, European, Oceanic countries, alongside with trans-national codes.

The main information reviewed includes: the definition of WUI hazards, risk areas and related severity classes, the influence of land and environmental factors, the requirements for building materials, constructions, utilities, fire protection measures and road access. Some common threads among the documents reviewed have been highlighted. They include similar attempts at: (a) defining WUI risk areas and severity classes, (b) considering land factors including the defensible space (also known as ignition zones), (c) prescribing requirements for buildings and access. The main gaps highlighted in the existing standards/guidelines include lacks of detailed and widespread requirements for resources, fire protection measures, and lacks of taking into account environmental factors in detail. The main design and construction principles contained in the reviewed documents are largely based on previous research and/or good practices. Hence, the main contributions of this paper consist in: (a) systematically disseminate these guidance concepts, (b) setting a potential basis for the development of standards/guidelines in other jurisdictions lacking dedicated WUI fire design guidance, (c) highlighting gaps in existing standards/guidelines to be addressed by current and future research.

READ THE FULL PAPER

"Guidance on Design and Construction of the Built Environment Against Wildland Urban Interface Fire Hazard"

Reference:

Intini, P., Ronchi, E., Gwynne, S. et al. Guidance on Design and Construction of the Built Environment Against Wildland Urban Interface Fire Hazard: A Review. Fire Technol 56, 1853–1883 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-019-00902-z