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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Medler, Michael J.

Second Advisor

Wilmer, Bo

Third Advisor

Bunn, Andrew Godard


The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is an area where homes, structures, and human development are interspersed or adjacent to wildland fire fuels. While prior works have mapped the extent and character of the WUI, the release of recent datasets such at US Census 2010, as well as spatially explicit vegetation height data, now allows for an updated model for mapping the WUI across the conterminous United States (CONUS). In addition, logical iterative improvements in WUI mapping techniques are presented which incorporate existing methods with novel techniques to map the current extent of the WUI using new housing density, vegetation, administrative, hydrologic, and road datasets. This thesis reviews the context in which WUI mapping came to prominence, and describes existing methods while exploring potential improvements. Appendix One, a stand-alone paper intended for publication further explores existing methods, presents a new WUI mapping geographic information system (GIS) model, and goes on to describe model results for the CONUS for years 2000 and 2010. The 2010 CONUS WUI occupied 227,376,491 acres, 11.79% of the CONUS, an expansion of 12.2 million acres from 2000, 5.7% growth. Model results suggest the WUI population was 126.4 million, 45.23% of the total population, an increase of 18.1 million since 2000, 14.34% growth. The number of WUI housing units was 63.4 million, 48.45% of total housing units, an increase of 10.1 million since 2000, 19.03% growth. For both 2000 and 2010, the WUI remained 97% vegetated to 3% non-vegetated land cover.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Wildland-urban interface--Geographic information systems--United States; Wildfire risk--Geographic information systems--United States; Fire risk assessment--Geographic information systems--United States; Vegetation mapping--Geographic information systems--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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