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Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Group

The Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Group develops, advances, and deploys measurement science to reduce risk of fire spread in wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities.


The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Group conducts research to reduce the risk of fire hazards in WUI communities. This research includes mission-related measurement science research and services to develop WUI fire risk exposure metrics, predict the spread of fires in WUI communities, assess the fire performance of structures and communities, and mitigate the effects of WUI fires on structures and communities through science-based codes and standards.

The WUI Fire Group accomplishes this work with the collaboration of various stakeholders, including:

  • Federal agencies (e.g., FEMA, USFA, USFS)
  • State agencies (e.g., CAL FIRE)
  • Codes and standards organizations (e.g., NFPA, ICC, ISO)
  • Fire research community (e.g., numerous academic institutions)


HMM Thumbnail
WUI Structure/Parcel/Community Fire Hazard Mitigation Methodology (HMM)
NIST, in collaboration with CAL FIRE and IBHS, has compiled a detailed list of mitigation actions to protect structures and parcels from ember and flame exposures in WUI fires. The methodology considers spatial relationships with parcel and neighboring parcel hazards to mitigate structure-to-structure fire spread in applicable scenarios. All structures must be protected from ember ignitions – the methodology presents 40 identified ember mitigation needs. See more at the project webpage.
Structure Separation
Structure Separation Experiments
NIST WUI Fire Group is leading a multi-agency collaboration investigating the safe structure separation distance of structures in the WUI. In Phase 1, dozens of sheds are being burned to measure heat release rate, flame lengths, heat flux and thermal exposure to target walls. See more at the project webpage.
Camp Fire Case Study
Camp Fire Case Study
Continuing investigation of the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, CA. Recent publications provide a detailed fire progression timeline and fire behavior findings. See more at the project webpage.
parcel combustibles
Parcel-level Combustibles
More than 200 experiments have been conducted with common detached combustibles found on residential parcels, including mulch, fencing, woodpiles, and landscape timbers. A comprehensive report is in progress. See more here.
Firebrand Measurement
Development of the emberometer, a firebrand measurement device, is ongoing. Updates include system components and hardening for field/experimental usage, as well as analytical updates for ember sizing and uncertainty quantification. See more here.
With Its Dragon, NIST Aims to Reduce the Toll of Wildfires
Watch the video: With Its Dragon, NIST Aims to Reduce the Toll of Wildfires
NIST's Firebrand Generator (also known as the "Dragon") produces showers of burning embers—or firebrands. Ingesting wood chips and exhaling firebrands, the novel equipment is used in research to better understand the behavior of wildfires that spread to communities.

News and Updates


2022 Disaster Resilience Symposium

Wed, Sep 14 - Thu, Sep 15 2022
The Engineering Laboratory at NIST, Gaithersburg will be hosting the 5th annual (and third virtual) symposium featuring

Industry Impacts

Projects and Programs


Wind-Driven Fire Spread to a Structure from Fences and Mulch


Kathryn Butler, Erik L. Johnsson, Alexander Maranghides, Shonali Nazare, Marco G. Fernandez, Rachel McIntyre, William Saar, Mariusz Zarzecki, Wei Tang, Eric Auth, Michael Pryor, Colin McLaughlin

A series of field experiments was conducted to examine the effects on fire spread toward a structure for combustible fences and mulch under conditions that may

WUI Structure/Parcel/Community Fire Hazard Mitigation Methodology

Alexander Maranghides, Eric Link, Shonali Nazare, Steven Hawks, Jim McDougald, Stephen Quarles, Daniel Gorham
In the last twenty years, wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires have been growing in severity and size. The structures destroyed by WUI fires have devastated

NIST Outdoor Structure Separation Experiments (NOSSE): Preliminary Test Plan

Alexander Maranghides, Shonali Nazare, Eric Link, Matthew Bundy, Artur A. Chernovsky, Erik L. Johnsson, Kathryn Butler, Steven Hawks, Frank Bigelow, William (Ruddy) Mell, Anthony Bova, Derek McNamara, Tom MIlac, Daniel Gorham, Faraz Hedayati, Bob Raymer, Frank Frievalt, William Walton
The Structure Separation Project is a multi-level project to assess structure-to-structure fire spread in Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) communities. The