Wildfire intensity and occurrence rate have risen alarmingly in recent years. Recent wildland urban interface fires have demonstrated the unrelenting destructive nature of these events and have called for an urgent need to address the problem. The Wildfire paradox reinforces the ideology that forest fires are inevitable and are actually beneficial; therefore focus should to be shifted towards minimizing potential losses to communities. This requires the development of vulnerability-based frameworks that can be used to provide holistic understanding of risk.
In this study, the researchers devise a probabilistic approach for quantifying community vulnerability to wildfires by applying concepts of graph theory. The researchers use the infamous 1991 Oakland fire as a case study in an attempt to unravel the complexity of community fires. Unlike current practice, the results are shown to be community-specific with substantial dependency of risk on meteorological conditions, environmental factors, and community characteristics and layout.