In December of 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) research new and emerging technology that could be applied to wildland fire incident response, given the loss of life that occurred in California during the fall of 2017 in Santa Rosa and Ventura.
In response to the request, DHS S&T—in collaboration with FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), and other key stakeholder experts—determined wildland urban interface (WUI) incidents and life-saving functions as the optimal areas for DHS S&T to explore technology innovation. As a result, S&T formed an Integrated Project Team (IPT) and initiated the WUI Fire Operational Requirements and Technology Capability Analysis Project. Over the course of the project, the IPT identified areas of innovation in wildland fire incident relating to wildland fire preparedness and mitigation and enhanced wildland fire suppression practices, including resistant infrastructure planning, building materials, and building codes. To meet the Administrator’s request, however, the IPT focused its efforts on requirements for improving operational capabilities and incident response to save lives in WUI fires.