The wildland-urban interface: why wildfire fatalities seem so prevalent in the U.S.

By James McCarten
The Canadian Press in the Kelowna Daily Courier
August 24, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

Erica Fischer, a civil engineering professor at Oregon State University and an expert on the intersection between wildland fires and the urban environment. …The challenge is especially acute in the U.S., a nation of 332 million people where wildfires are becoming mass-casualty events, unlike in Canada, where an encroaching fire is still largely a matter of mass evacuations and narrow escapes. …Verisk estimates there are roughly 4.5 million homes in the U.S. — nearly half of those in California alone — that face a high or extreme risk from wildfires. Compare that with B.C. in that same category at 259,100, and fewer than 31,000 in Alberta. …This year, despite what by all accounts has been the worst wildfire season ever in North America, there have been only six fatalities in Canada, four of them firefighters. But regardless of fatality rates, neither country is confronting the threat properly, said Chris Dunn, an OSU forestry professor.

Read More