International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mapping Canadian wildland fire interface areas

Lynn M. Johnston A C and Mike D. Flannigan B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Natural Resources Canada, 1219 Queen Street E, Sault Ste Marie, ON, P6A 2E5, Canada.

B University of Alberta, 751 General Services Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada.

C Corresponding author. Email: lynn.johnston@canada.ca

International Journal of Wildland Fire - https://doi.org/10.1071/WF16221
Submitted: 15 December 2016  Accepted: 7 November 2017   Published online: 22 December 2017

Abstract

Destruction of human-built structures occurs in the ‘wildland–urban interface’ (WUI) – where homes or other burnable community structures meet with or are interspersed within wildland fuels. To mitigate WUI fires, basic information such as the location of interface areas is required, but such information is not available in Canada. Therefore, in this study, we produced the first national map of WUI in Canada. We also extended the WUI concept to address potentially vulnerable industrial structures and infrastructure that are not traditionally part of the WUI, resulting in two additional maps: a ‘wildland–industrial interface’ map (i.e. the interface of wildland fuels and industrial structures, denoted here as WUI-Ind) and a ‘wildland–infrastructure interface’ map (i.e. the interface of wildland fuels and infrastructure such as roads and railways, WUI-Inf). All three interface types (WUI, WUI-Ind, WUI-Inf) were defined as areas of wildland fuels within a variable-width buffer (maximum distance: 2400 m) from potentially vulnerable structures or infrastructure. Canada has 32.3 million ha of WUI (3.8% of total national land area), 10.5 million ha of WUI-Ind (1.2%) and 109.8 million ha of WUI-Inf (13.0%). The maps produced here provide a baseline for future research and have a wide variety of practical applications.

Additional keywords: communities, fuels, values, wildland–industrial interface, wildland–infrastructure interface, wildland–urban interface.


References

Arienti MC, Cumming SG, Boutin S (2006) Empirical models of forest fire initial attack success probabilities: the effects of fuels, anthropogenic linear features, fire weather, and management. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36, 3155–3166.
Empirical models of forest fire initial attack success probabilities: the effects of fuels, anthropogenic linear features, fire weather, and management.CrossRef |

Bar-Massada A, Stewart SI, Hammer RB, Mockrin MH, Radeloff VC (2013) Using structure locations as a basis for mapping the wildland urban interface. Journal of Environmental Management 128, 540–547.
Using structure locations as a basis for mapping the wildland urban interface.CrossRef |

Bar-Massada A, Radeloff VC, Stewart SI (2014) Biotic and abiotic effects of human settlements in the wildland–urban interface. Bioscience 64, 429–437.
Biotic and abiotic effects of human settlements in the wildland–urban interface.CrossRef |

Beverly JL, Bothwell P (2011) Wildfire evacuations in Canada 1980–2007. Natural Hazards 59, 571–596.
Wildfire evacuations in Canada 1980–2007.CrossRef |

Beverly JL, Bothwell P, Conner JCR, Herd EPK (2010) Assessing the exposure of the built environment to potential ignition sources generated from vegetative fuel. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19, 299–313.
Assessing the exposure of the built environment to potential ignition sources generated from vegetative fuel.CrossRef |

Bollman RD, Clemenson HA (2006) Structure and change in Canada’s rural demography: an update to 2006 with provincial detail. (Statistics Canada: Ottawa, ON). Available at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/21-006-x/21-006-x2007007-eng.htm [Accessed 1 June 2016]

Bouillon C, Fernandez Ramiro M, Sirca C, Fierro Garcia B, Casula F, Vila B, Long Fournel M, Pellizzaro G, Arca B, Tedim F (2014) A tool for mapping rural–urban interfaces on different scales. In ‘Advances in forest fire research. Chapter 3: Fire management’. (Ed. DX Viegas) pp. 611–625. (Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra: Coimbra, Portugal)10.14195/978-989-26-0884-6_70

Canadian Forest Service (2014) Canadian National Fire Database – Agency fire data. Dataset. (Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre: Edmonton, AB) Available at http://cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/ha/nfdb [Verified 5 December 2017]

CBC News (2016) Canada’s GDP shrank by 0.6% in May, worst month in more than 7 years. CBC News, Business. 29 July 2016. Available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/gdp-may-fire-economy-1.3693968 [Accessed 5 December 2016]

Chas-Amil M, Touza J, Garcia-Martinez E (2013) Forest fires in the wildland–urban interface: a spatial analysis of forest fragmentation and human impacts. Applied Geography 43, 127–137.
Forest fires in the wildland–urban interface: a spatial analysis of forest fragmentation and human impacts.CrossRef |

Chuvieco E, Aguado I, Jurdao S, Pettinari ML, Yebra M, Salas J, Hantson S, De La Riva J, Ibarra P, Rodrigues M, Echeverria M, Azqueta D, Roman MV, Bastarrika A, Martinez S, Recondo C, Zapico E, Martinez-Vega FJ (2014) Integrating geospatial information into fire risk assessment. International Journal of Wildland Fire 23, 606–619.
Integrating geospatial information into fire risk assessment.CrossRef |

CIFFC (2013) CIFFC Canada Report 2013. Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre Inc. Available at http://www.ciffc.ca/images/stories/pdf/2013_canada_report.pdf [Accessed 17 July 2015]

Cumming SG (2005) Effective fire suppression in boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35, 772–786.
Effective fire suppression in boreal forests.CrossRef |

Flannigan M, Wotton B, Marshall G, de Groot W, Johnston J, Jurko N, Cantin A (2016) Fuel moisture sensitivity to temperature and precipitation: climate change implications. Climatic Change 134, 59–71.
Fuel moisture sensitivity to temperature and precipitation: climate change implications.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2MXhs1eiu7zN&md5=e8c3dc6bf31e871508dd6b92aee2e906CAS |

Flannigan MD, Krawchuk MA, de Groot WJ, Wotton BM, Gowman LM (2009) Implications of changing climate for global wildland fire. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 483–507.
Implications of changing climate for global wildland fire.CrossRef |

Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Committee (2012) Flat Top Complex. (Sustainable Resource Development: AB, Canada) Available at https://wildfire.alberta.ca/resources/reviews/documents/FlatTopComplex-WildfireReviewCommittee-A-May18-2012.pdf [Accessed 5 December 2017]

Forestry Canada Fire Danger Group (1992) Development and structure of the Canadian Forest Fire Behaviour Prediction System. Forestry Canada, Information Report ST-X-3. (Ottawa, ON). Available at http://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/pubwarehouse/pdfs/10068.pdf [Accessed 4 July 2016]

Fox D, Martin N, Carrega P, Andrieu J, Adnès C, Emsellem K, Ganga O, Moebius F, Tortorollo N, Fox E (2015) Increases in fire risk due to warmer summer temperatures and wildland urban interface changes do not necessarily lead to more fires. Applied Geography 56, 1–12.
Increases in fire risk due to warmer summer temperatures and wildland urban interface changes do not necessarily lead to more fires.CrossRef |

Fried JS, Winter GJ, Gilless JK (1999) Assessing the benefits of reducing fire risk in the wildland–urban interface: a contingent valuation approach. International Journal of Wildland Fire 9, 9–20.
Assessing the benefits of reducing fire risk in the wildland–urban interface: a contingent valuation approach.CrossRef |

Galiana-Martin L, Herrero G, Solana J (2011) A wildland–urban interface typology for forest fire risk management in Mediterranean areas. Landscape Research 36, 151–171.
A wildland–urban interface typology for forest fire risk management in Mediterranean areas.CrossRef |

Gralewicz NJ, Nelson TA, Wulder MA (2012) Factors influencing national scale wildfire susceptibility in Canada. Forest Ecology and Management 265, 20–29.
Factors influencing national scale wildfire susceptibility in Canada.CrossRef |

Haas JR, Calkin DE, Thompson MP (2013) A national approach for integrating wildfire simulation modeling into wildland–urban interface risk assessments within the United States. Landscape and Urban Planning 119, 44–53.
A national approach for integrating wildfire simulation modeling into wildland–urban interface risk assessments within the United States.CrossRef |

Haight RG, Cleland DT, Hammer RB, Radeloff VB, Rupp TS (2004) Assessing fire risk in the wildland–urban interface. Journal of Forestry 102, 41–48.

Hammer RB, Radeloff VC, Fried JS, Stewart SI (2007) Wildland–urban interface housing growth during the 1990s in California, Oregon, and Washington. International Journal of Wildland Fire 16, 255–265.
Wildland–urban interface housing growth during the 1990s in California, Oregon, and Washington.CrossRef |

He HS, DeZonia BE, Mladenoff DJ (2000) An aggregation index (AI) to quantify spatial patterns of landscapes. Landscape Ecology 15, 591–601.
An aggregation index (AI) to quantify spatial patterns of landscapes.CrossRef |

Herrero-Corral G, Jappiot M, Bouillon C, Long-Fournel M (2012) Application of a geographical assessment method for the characterization of wildland–urban interfaces in the context of wildfire prevention: a case study in western Madrid. Applied Geography 35, 60–70.
Application of a geographical assessment method for the characterization of wildland–urban interfaces in the context of wildfire prevention: a case study in western Madrid.CrossRef |

Lampin-Maillet C, Jappiot M, Long M, Bouillon C, Morge D, Ferrier J-P (2010) Mapping wildland–urban interfaces at large scales integrating housing density and vegetation aggregation for fire prevention in the south of France. Journal of Environmental Management 91, 732–741.
Mapping wildland–urban interfaces at large scales integrating housing density and vegetation aggregation for fire prevention in the south of France.CrossRef |

Lein JK, Stump NI (2009) Assessing wildfire potential within the wildland–urban interface: a south-eastern Ohio example. Applied Geography 29, 21–34.
Assessing wildfire potential within the wildland–urban interface: a south-eastern Ohio example.CrossRef |

Maranghides A, Mell W (2011) A case study of a community affected by the Witch and Guejito wildland fires. Fire Technology 47, 379–420.
A case study of a community affected by the Witch and Guejito wildland fires.CrossRef |

Martell DL, Sun H (2008) The impact of fire suppression, vegetation, and weather on the area burned by lightning-caused forest fires in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38, 1547–1563.
The impact of fire suppression, vegetation, and weather on the area burned by lightning-caused forest fires in Ontario.CrossRef |

Modugno S, Balzter H, Cole B, Borrelli P (2016) Mapping regional patterns of large forest fires in wildland–urban interface areas in Europe. Journal of Environmental Management 172, 112–126.
Mapping regional patterns of large forest fires in wildland–urban interface areas in Europe.CrossRef |

Natural Resources Canada (2010) North American Atlas – Populated Places. Dataset. (NRC Government of Canada, Mapping Information Branch, The Atlas of Canada). Available at http://geogratis.cgdi.gc.ca/download/frameworkdata/North_America_Atlas10M/popplaces/ [Verified 5 December 2017]

Natural Resources Canada (2015a) CanVec+. Dataset. Used under the Open Government Licence – Canada. (EaSS GeoGratis Client Services. Natural Resources Canada, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation). Available at ftp://ftp.geogratis.gc.ca/pub/nrcan_rncan/vector/canvec/archive/canvec+_archive_20151029/doc/CanVec+_en_release_notes.pdf [Verified 5 December 2017]

Natural Resources Canada (2015b) Land Cover, circa 2000 – vector. Dataset. Used under the Open Government Licence – Canada. (EaSS GeoGratis Client Services, Natural Resources Canada, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation). Available at www.GeoGratis.gc.ca [Verified 5 December 2017]

Parisien M-A, Miller C, Parks SA, DeLancey ER, Robinne F-N, Flannigan MD (2016) The spatially varying influence of humans on fire probability in North America. Environmental Research Letters 11, 075005
The spatially varying influence of humans on fire probability in North America.CrossRef |

Peter B, Wang S, Mogus T, Wilson B (2006) Fire risk and population trends in Canada’s wildland–urban interface. In ‘Canadian wildland fire strategy: background synthesis, analysis, and perspectives’. (Eds KG Hirsch, P Fuglem) pp. 37–48. (Canadian Council of Forest Ministers: Edmonton, AB, Canada)

Platt RV (2010) The wildland–urban interface: evaluating the definition effect. Journal of Forestry 108, 9–15.

Podur J, Wotton M (2010) Will climate change overwhelm fire management capacity? Ecological Modelling 221, 1301–1309.
Will climate change overwhelm fire management capacity?CrossRef |

Podur JJ, Martell DL, Csillag F (2003) Spatial patterns of lightning-caused forest fires in Ontario, 1976–1998. Ecological Modelling 164, 1–20.
Spatial patterns of lightning-caused forest fires in Ontario, 1976–1998.CrossRef |

Price O, Bradstock R (2014) Countervailing effects of urbanization and vegetation extent on fire frequency on the wildland–urban interface: disentangling fuel and ignition effects. Landscape and Urban Planning 130, 81–88.
Countervailing effects of urbanization and vegetation extent on fire frequency on the wildland–urban interface: disentangling fuel and ignition effects.CrossRef |

Pyne SJ (2007) ‘Awful splendour: a history of fire in Canada.’ (University of British Columbia Press: Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Stewart SI, Fried JS, Holcomb SS, McKeefry JF (2005) The wildland–urban interface in the United States. Ecological Applications 15, 799–805.
The wildland–urban interface in the United States.CrossRef |

Robinne F-N, Parisien M-A, Flannigan M (2016) Anthropogenic influence on wildfire activity in Alberta, Canada. International Journal of Wildland Fire 25, 1131–1143.
Anthropogenic influence on wildfire activity in Alberta, Canada.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC28XhslOhsrvF&md5=27e61d1646fb7eaf5e0f785addf8334fCAS |

Statistics Canada (2011) ‘Wednesday, August 31, 2011. Canadian economic accounts. The Daily.’ Available at www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110831/dq110831a-eng.htm [Accessed 30 May 2016]

Stewart SI, Radeloff VC, Hammer RB, Hawbaker TJ (2007) Defining the wildland–urban interface. Journal of Forestry 105, 201–207.

Stewart SI, Wilmer B, Hammer RB, Aplet GH, Hawbaker TJ, Miller C, Radeloff VC (2009) Wildland–urban interface maps vary with purpose and context. Journal of Forestry 107, 78–83.

Stocks BJ, Flannigan M (2013) Current fire regimes, impacts and the likely changes – I: Past, current and future boreal fire activity in Canada. In ‘Vegetation fires and global change: challenges for concerted international action. A White Paper directed to the United Nations and International Organizations’. (Ed. JG Goldammer) Ch. 4, pp. 39–50. (Kessel Publishing House: Remagen-Oberwinter, Germany)

Stocks BJ, Martell DL (2016) Forest fire management expenditures in Canada: 1970–2013. Forestry Chronicle 92, 298–306.
Forest fire management expenditures in Canada: 1970–2013.CrossRef |

Stocks BJ, Simard AJ (1993) Forest fire management in Canada. Disaster Management 5, 21–27.

Stocks BJ, Mason JA, Todd JB, Bosch EM, Wotton BM, Amiro BD, Flannigan MD, Hirsch KG, Logan KA, Martell DL, Skinner WR (2002) Large forest fires in Canada, 1959–1997 Journal of Geophysical Research 107, FFR 5-1–FFR 5-12.
Large forest fires in Canada, 1959–1997CrossRef |

The Canadian Press (2016) Wildfire loss to oilsands at least 30 million barrels worth $1.4 billion. CBC News Business. 15 June 2016. Available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/wildfire-loss-to-oilsands-at-least-30-million-barrels-worth-1-4-billion-1.3636716 [Accessed 5 December 2016]

Theobald DM, Romme WH (2007) Expansion of the US wildland–urban interface. Landscape and Urban Planning 83, 340–354.
Expansion of the US wildland–urban interface.CrossRef |

Thomas DS, Butry DT (2014) Areas of the US wildland–urban interface threatened by wildfire during the 2001–2010 decade. Natural Hazards 71, 1561–1585.
Areas of the US wildland–urban interface threatened by wildfire during the 2001–2010 decade.CrossRef |

USDA and USDI (2001) Notices. Federal Register. pp. 751–777. (United States Government) Available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2001/01/04/01-52/urban-wildland-interface-communities-within-the-vicinity-of-federal-lands-that-are-at-high-risk-from [Accessed 4 July 2016]

Vilar L, Woolford DG, Martell DL, Martin MP (2010) A model for predicting human-caused wildfire occurrence in the region of Madrid, Spain. International Journal of Wildland Fire 19, 325–337.
A model for predicting human-caused wildfire occurrence in the region of Madrid, Spain.CrossRef |

Wang X, Blanchet FG, Koper N (2014) Measuring habitat fragmentation: an evaluation of landscape pattern metrics. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5, 634–646.
Measuring habitat fragmentation: an evaluation of landscape pattern metrics.CrossRef |

Wang X, Thompson DK, Marshall GA, Tymstra C, Carr R, Flannigan MD (2015) Increasing frequency of extreme fire weather in Canada with climate change. Climatic Change 130, 573–586.
Increasing frequency of extreme fire weather in Canada with climate change.CrossRef |

Whitman E, Rapaport E, Sherren K (2013) Modeling fire susceptibility to delineate wildland–urban interface for municipal-scale fire risk management. Environmental Management 52, 1427–1439.
Modeling fire susceptibility to delineate wildland–urban interface for municipal-scale fire risk management.CrossRef |

Wotton BM, Martell DL, Logan KA (2003) Climate change and people-caused forest fire occurrence in Ontario. Climatic Change 60, 275–295.
Climate change and people-caused forest fire occurrence in Ontario.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3sXnvVOrs78%3D&md5=654bcf84d12e9f76983dad0b0e09fa9bCAS |

Zhang Y, He HS, Yang J (2008) The wildland–urban interface dynamics in the south-eastern US from 1990 to 2000. Landscape and Urban Planning 85, 155–162.
The wildland–urban interface dynamics in the south-eastern US from 1990 to 2000.CrossRef |



Export Citation

View Altmetrics