Using Structure Location Data to Map theWildland–Urban Interface in Montana, USA

TitleUsing Structure Location Data to Map theWildland–Urban Interface in Montana, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsKetchpaw, AR, Li, D, Khan, SNawaz, Jiang, Y, Li, Y, Zhang, L
Date Published08/2022
Keywordsaddress point data, structure point data, technical reports and journal articles, web GIS, wildland–urban interface

The increasing wildfire activity and rapid population growth in the wildland–urban interface (WUI) have made more Americans exposed to wildfire risk. WUI mapping plays a significant role in wildfire management. This study used the Microsoft building footprint (MBF) and the Montana address/structure framework datasets to map the WUI in Montana. A systematic comparison of the following three types of WUI was performed: the WUI maps derived from the Montana address/structure framework dataset (WUI-P), the WUI maps derived from the MBF dataset (WUI-S), and the Radeloff WUI map derived from census data (WUI-Z). The results show that WUI-S and WUI-P are greater than WUI-Z in the WUI area. Moreover, WUI-S has more WUI area than WUI-P due to the inclusion of all structures rather than just address points. Spatial analysis revealed clusters of high percentage WUI area in western Montana and low percentage WUI area in eastern Montana, which is likely related to a combination of factors including topography and population density. A web GIS application was also developed to facilitate the dissemination of the resulting WUI maps and allow visual comparison between the three WUI types. This study demonstrated that the MBF can be a useful resource for mapping the WUI and could be used in place of a national address point dataset.