Federal Highway Administration │ Fire Damage Assessment Research


The size and intensity of domestic wildfires is steadily increasing.
Wildfires cost billions of dollars in economic loss.
Planning for the impacts of wildfires is critically important.
Wildfires pose both direct and indirect impacts on pavement infrastructure.
Project Description

Wildfires can damage any element of transportation infrastructure. For pavement surfaces, wildfire damage can lead to potholes, raveling, and delamination. In addition, increased loadings by fire suppression vehicles and post-fire cleanup activities frequently cause structural damage. Post-fire flooding and clogged drainage systems can also exacerbate damage from the fire itself. 

NCE is part of a team selected to identify actions that can be taken by agencies today to help improve resilience of pavements to future wildfire and other climate change-related events. This research project compiles, synthesizes, and documents the direct and indirect impacts of wildfires on pavement infrastructure. It includes both an extensive literature review and a series of interviews with agency personnel. The interviews enable NCE to compile agency experience with wildfires including primary concerns and impacts, known impacts on pavements and other infrastructure, challenges during and after wildfire events, and approaches to repair. Ultimately, this project will provide data to improve wildfire resilience and inform cutting-edge sustainable technologies.