Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)

2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: KOMO Photo Air4)


2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: KOMO Photo Air4)


2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: KOMO Photo Air4)


2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: Jacob Weigley)

Sumne Grade Fire Internal Tree Fire

2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: KOMO Photo Air4)


2020 Sumner Grade Fire (Photos: KOMO Photo Air4)


The WUI is the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. It is the line, area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. Communities adjacent to and surrounded by wildland are at varying degrees of risk from wildfires. The WUI is not a place, but a set of conditions that can exist in nearly every community. The WUI exists in every state in the country and is determined by several factors, including:

  • Type and distribution of vegetation
  • Proximity to vegetation and other structures
  • Climate and weather patterns
  • Fire history
  • Topography
  • Access

What can your community do to prepare?

Educate Your Community

Create a defensible space.  Keep the first 5 feet of their homes clear of any flammables such as woodpiles, wood mulch, and dead vegetation.  Clean gutters and underneath decks. Get kids involved! Check out the Youth Wildland Magazine & engage them with the Ready, Set, Go! Preparedness Mission, available in both English and Spanish.


Talk about Evacuation & Communication Plans 

Just like a home fire escape plan, plan for every member of your home - older adults, people with mobility and functional needs, children, and pets.  Having a plan in place will ease frustration and stress if you are forced to evacuate.


Learn about Evacuation Levels

You may have to evacuate quickly due to a wildfire. Create your own Wildland Fire Action Guide, available in both English and Spanish. Learn about local evacuation guidance from the East Pierce Interlocal Coalition and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management.

Level 1: READY - Level 1 evacuations are an alert Residents should be aware of a danger that exists.  Now is the time to "Get Ready".  Residents should take note and prepare for relocating family members, pets, and livestock.

Level 2: SET - Level 2 evacuations indicate there is a significant risk to your area.  Now is the time to be set for immediate evacuation.  Residents should either voluntarily relocate with family/friends outside the area or be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

Level 3 GO! Level 3 means there is immediate danger. GO NOW!  You are advised to evacuate immediately.

Once you have left the evacuated area, you will not be allowed to re-enter until the danger has passed.  Follow the instructions from local authorities.  They will provide the latest recommendations based on the threat to your community and appropriate safety measures.  Preparing your family in advance of an emergency is important.  Make an action plan, prepare a "Go Kit", communicate the plan with your family.

EMD Evac Levels

Wildfire Videos

Defensible Space

In 2020, a brush fire in Graham scorched nearly 100 acres and burned five homes.  High winds and dry conditions fueled the fire. Residents were forced to evacuate.  By maintaining a defensible space, it creates a buffer between a building and the grass, trees, shrubs, or other wildland area that surround it.  Visit Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to view Washington Wildland-Urban Interface maps.(Video courtesy of Graham Fire & Rescue.)

Pierce County Wildfire Webinar

Pierce Conservation District hosted this webinar for residents to learn about how they can become “Firewise.”