2011 Wildland Urban Interface Amarillo Fires Report #2 Assessment of Fire Behavior and WUI Measurement Science
Alexander Maranghides, Derek McNamara
On February 27, 2011, three fires began in the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas, two of which destroyed or damaged buildings in multiple housing developments. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as part of its Disaster and Failure Studies Program, began gathering electronic data for the incident within 6 hours of the Tanglewood fire front moving through the Palisades Community in Lake Tanglewood. NIST and the Texas Forest Service (TFS) integrated a field data collection team into the Incident Command System (ICS) within 48 hours to conduct a post-fire assessment. Initially, both the Willow Creek South Complex and Tanglewood Complex fires were assessed. Within 72 hours after ICS integration, the Tanglewood Fire became the focus of the deployment. The deployment also supported local and state damage assessment efforts. This second report provides the event timeline reconstruction and general fire behavior observations. Additionally, a general assessment of defensive actions is presented to show the spatial extent of these actions and identify potential structure and parcel level ignition mechanisms. Topographic characteristics within the affected communities are discussed. This report also details structural and vegetative element ignition mechanisms throughout the communities affected by the Tanglewood Fire. A discussion of current WUI mitigation information is conducted in the context of applicable hazard mitigation for the affected communities and an assessment of WUI fire measurement science is presented.