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The Fire Triangle - Wildland fire and its interaction with utilities

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This is a concept well known to many folks, but it’s important to understand the fundamentals of the components of wildland fire and its interaction with the wildland-urban interface (WUI), including utility rights-of-way and natural areas surrounding rural municipalities.

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For combustion to happen three contributors are necessary – fuel, heat and oxygen. The oxygen part is ever present on modern day Earth, so that leg of the triangle is self-explanatory. The fuel leg consists of anything that can burn including vegetation and, unfortunately, homes and other buildings as well as utility structures (particularly wood structures). Oxygen and fuel are constantly present, but combustion cannot occur without a heat source. In a fire caused by nature, the heat source is typically a lightning strike, but only 10 to 20% of wildland fires are caused by nature. Humans account for the other 80-90% of wildland fire ignitions, and those causes are endless. For a more detailed discussion on protecting rights-of-way and wildland-urban interfaces, please reach out to us at


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