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Wildland-Urban Interface Committee – Southern Division


Tom Peterson
Atascadero Fire Department

Don Oaks
Santa Barbara County Fire-Retired


wui fpo south

WUI Committee in session

The Willdland-Urban Interface (WUI) Committee serves the CFCA-FPO and the community at large as: a source of training programs relying primarily on the skill sets of the Committee members; on-going efforts in code change and code development; and a brokerage and clearing house for new techniques and technologies with respect to issues associated with the WUI


The Committee activities continue to be focused on code development and training during the year. The implementation of a revised Chapter 7a in the CBC and the parallel evolution of the ICC produced numerous requests for interpretation as well as requests for educational presentations, set-up by the California State Fire Marshal’s Office or the FPO Board.  The committee continues to be very active in code and standards development with co-chair Don Oaks sitting on the ASTM E5.14 (WUI) Committee and NFPA Wildland and Rural Fire Protection Committee.  Several members were active in the rewrite of CBC Chapter 7a.  Past Co-Chair Emeritus Rolland Crawford continues participation with ICC code development and training.  Past Co-Chair Mark Miller, Chief of the Cambria Fire Department was the principle architect of a successful effort to legitimize the fire service role in controlling existing urban-interface areas within the California Coastal Zone.  Newly appointed Co-Chair Tom Peterson brings new energy to the Committee as well as a community that will serve as an ideal proving ground for techniques and technologies being explored, as Atascadero is a prototypical WUI-threatened community.


During the coming year we will continue the legislative and training/education effort. The Committee recently presented a one-day seminar on the subject of comprehensive fire safety requirements in the wildland-urban interface.  We will present this basic class at different locations during the coming years. Additional WUI subject classes using this basic class as a model will be made available regionally. In recent years we directed time and energy to the improvement of attic and eave vent design and the ASTM development of ember intrusion test apparatus and protocols to standardize the approval of such products and committee members participated in the effort sponsored by San Diego County to develop a document for evaluation of fire protection planning, with particular focus on integration with CEQA guidelines.  Most recent effort was multiple member participation in a SFM committee which reviewed Chapter 7A and made recommendations for changes relating to the code effecting accessory buildings, skylights and garage doors in the high severity zones.


We are experimenting with teleconferencing systems for our regular meetings, which should allow participation by a much larger percentage of the FPO membership.  Committee members are actively involved in the investigations and fact-findings associated with the more significant fires of each season, and use the acquired knowledge to continue our efforts in the code change process.

For additional information or to get involved with the Southern Division WUI Committee, please contact one of the co-chairs.