What is the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)?

The wildland urban interface is typically described as the area where human development meets or intermingles with the natural environment. Over time, our communities and lifestyles increasingly extend further into forested areas and as such, we find interface communities all over Canada, in both remote rural locations and in urban centers. When we live, work and play in WUI zones, we become more exposed to the danger of wildfire, but it is possible to live safely with this natural event.

Fuels in the WUI

Wildland Fuels

All vegetation (natural and cultivated)

Built Fuels

Man-made structures (buildings and infrastructure)

Wildland fuels and built fuels all have different burning characteristics. When combined, they create uniquely complex conditions that affect the ignition and spread of fire that are very different than the conditions created by an isolated structural or wildland fire. This is called the WUI fuel complex. By understanding the complexities of these combined fuels, along with considering the topographic and weather conditions that affect the combustibility of these fuels, we can better appreciate the unique and often overwhelming challenges that a WUI fire presents, especially when it comes to suppression attempts.

We all have a part to play

Find out more about wildfire behaviour, how wildfires spread in the WUI, and what steps you as a resident and neighbourhood, can take to minimize the impacts of a wildfire in the FireSmart Begins at Home Manual

FireSmart Begins at Home Guide