Resilience and Adaptation to Climatic Extreme Wildfires

Wildfires are driven by factors such as climate change, drought, and the expansion of urban areas into wildlands. In recent years, Canada has experienced an increase in wildfires annually. As a result, there have been more community evacuations and significant impacts to buildings and infrastructure.

To address the issue, in 2021, the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) Construction Research Centre launched the Resilience and Adaptation to Climatic Extreme Wildfires project to support mitigation measures and improved preparedness for growing wildfire risks.

The project is funded under the NRC's Ideation Fund and is set to be completed in 2025. The Ideation Fund enables NRC researchers to explore transformative research ideas in collaboration with external partners. Every year, through the NRC's Small Teams initiatives, projects led by NRC researchers are funded to help drive innovative research and development in a wide range of areas of importance to Canadians.


The aim of the project is to develop tools and knowledge to inform municipalities about the locations of immediate wildfire hazards in wildland-urban interface areas and to plan for community evacuations in the event of a wildfire. This work will also build on related measures and recommendations that are outlined in the NRC's National Guide for Wildland-Urban Interface Fires to help communities plan effectively.

Project research objectives:

  • establish a methodology to assess the fuel hazard and ember exposure of Canadian communities
  • map the risk of wildfires across Canada
  • develop a tool and guidelines that can be used by various stakeholders, including communities, to help determine their vulnerability to wildland-urban interface fires
  • provide a standardized method that will be used to define the potential exposure to ignitions for a property or community, given an encroaching wildfire
  • determine resource allocation to help those unable to evacuate


Working closely with national and international collaborators, the anticipated outcomes include:

  • Research publications related to hazard and exposure assessment
    • fuel data sets for hazard and exposure assessments
    • data on ember characterization from field experiments
    • empirical models for hazard and exposure assessments using machine learning methods
    • enhanced fire hazard and exposure assessment methods and framework
    • proposal for fire hazard and exposure assessment methods to national standard bodies
  • Create a Resident Safety Platform to assess the performance and effectiveness of different evacuation strategies before a fire occurs
  • Development of a tool, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, to characterize ember generation
  • Development of modeling tools to plan for community evacuation


The project is being carried out by a multi-disciplinary team from the NRC and a group of national and international experts, as climatic extreme wildfires are a global issue. The project collaborators will serve as a network for disseminating the developed tools, methods and guidelines in real world applications.

Collaborators are:

  • Fire Protection Research Foundation, USA
  • Imperial College, London, UK
  • Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service
  • RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Ottawa

NRC project team