Fire risk at the wildland-urban interface: a case study of a Galician county

María L. Chas-Amil, Eduardo García-Martínez, Julia M. Touza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In Galicia (Spain), wildfires are one of the main environmental problems, with an annual average of close to 8,600 forest fires between 1999 and 2008. Most of these fires are intentionally ignited. It is therefore crucial for fire prevention policies to assess human-started fires and their relationship with socioeconomic aspects. In this paper we focus on the spatial pattern of human presence in the territory as an important determinant on forest fires ignitions. We identify, classified and map wildland-urban interface (WUI) and assess fire risk by types of WUI in a Galician county with one of the highest incidence of forest fires during the studied period (1999-2008). Following Lampin-Maillet approach, and based on a combination of a map of buildings, obtained from the National Topographic Base, and the SIOSE land-cover map (Information system of land use cover in Spain) we distinguished among 12 types of interfaces. Our results show a significant relationship between the different types of WUI and the spatial patterns of wildfire ignition points. The highest density of fire ignition points was found in non-forest WUI with either dispersed or very dense clustered buildings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModelling, Monitoring and Management of Forest Fires III
Subtitle of host publicationWIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment
Place of PublicationSouthampton
PublisherWIT Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84564-585-4
ISBN (Print)978-1-84564-584-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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