Evaluating Road Resilience to Wildfires: Case Studies of Paradise and Carr Fires

Research Team: Somayeh Nassiri (lead), Changmo Kim, Ali A. Butt

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Increasing wildfires in recent years have exposed California communities to greater risks. The associated impact of evacuation, rescue, and recovery operations on the physical conditions of the local and highway road network has not been sufficiently studied. This knowledge gap in capital damage impairs local officials in planning and securing federal and state funds for repair, rebuilding, and resilience to future fires.

Project Description: This project will focus on two large fires, the Paradise and Carr fires in 2018, because there are now four years of traffic and pavement data following these fires. For identified state routes, the researchers will determine whether the changes in traffic volume and traffic loads (e.g., axle load spectra) were significant and whether changes to traffic loads and volumes impacted the physical conditions of major state routes to the extent traffic data is available. Pavement physical conditions will be assessed before and after the fires based on available data. Then, the research team will perform pavement structural modeling to predict the impact of increased post-fire traffic (if any) on other routes in northern California that are at high fire risk to develop a framework for road fire damage assessment and forecasting for future events. In addition, the research team will conduct a literature and practice review on the properties of fire-degraded concrete and other mixed post-fire construction and demolition waste for use as components of new concrete and asphalt.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $50,000