Roadside Fire Prevention and Response

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Roadside fires are increasing in many parts of the US, partially amplified by climate change and increased traffic volumes as well as stress on maintenance budgets. Wildfire prevention and response is becoming synonymous with roadside maintenance in some locations. There is a temptation to respond by removing all potential fuel from the roadside, as far out as possible, but this requires high levels of maintenance staff input to maintain over time. Research is needed to demonstrate best management practices for roadside vegetation design and management that is efficient and reduces the risk of roadside fire starts, including best practices for post-fire stabilization/revegetation of roadsides. This topic has been identified as a research priority by the TRB Committee on Roadside Maintenance Operations; Ray Willard, maintenance landscape architect at WSDOT should be included as part of the topic development team if this is selected to move forward.

Urgency and Payoff

Roadside fires result in road closures, hazard to the staff and the public, and can lead to larger wildland fires. Maintaining roadsides without vegetation is cost prohibitive. Sharing best practices for maintaining roadsides in fire prone areas will assist states with reducing the impact of fires and streamlining roadside vegetation management approaches.

Suggested By

Kris Gade Arizona Dept of Transportation 6022920301

[email protected]