Bridging two cultures of fire risk at the wildland-urban interface: The case of Haifa, Israel

Yaella Depietri, Daniel E. Orenstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Forest fires in Mediterranean ecosystems are increasingly affecting the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Here, in fire-prone regions, the concentration of people and buildings leads to significant losses, posing new challenges for dealing with disaster risk. We investigated the literature on fire risk at the WUI to identify potential sources of risk and potential coping and adaptation strategies. We then analyzed the case of forest fire at the WUI in Haifa, Israel. We interviewed 13 fire experts and analyzed additional expert lectures given in university symposia in the aftermath of a major fire that affected the city in November 2016. We identified major factors of risk and areas of the city at relatively higher risk, as well as potential adaptation strategies. We conclude this chapter by suggesting that, at the WUI, two, presently separate, cultures of fire risk need to be brought together: that of fire in the urban setting and that in the open forest. A mix of ecosystem management and social and technological solutions are thus needed to deal with fire risk at the WUI in an effective and lasting way.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding Disaster Risk
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidimensional Approach
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780128190470
ISBN (Print)9780128190487
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Adaptation
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • social-ecological-technological systems
  • Wildfires
  • Wildland-urban interface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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