Methodology and challenges of fire following earthquake analysis: an urban community study considering water and transportation networks

Maxwell Coar, Amir Sarreshtehdari, Maria Garlock, Negar Elhami Khorasani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Pacific Northwest faces the looming threat of a massive 9.0 earthquake coming from the Cascadia Subduction Zone of the Juan de Fuca plate off the coast of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. City officials, emergency managers, and researchers are preparing for this event by examining not only the earthquake itself, but also the cascading hazards that will follow it, such as fire and tsunami. Additionally, they must measure the effects of these hazards not just on the infrastructure systems they affect (e.g., water, power, transportation, communication, emergency services, etc.) but also how each system is affected by the failure of one or more of the others, or its “dependency.” The following paper discusses the effects of two cascading hazards—earthquake and fire—and the vulnerability of three infrastructure systems—building stock, water, and transportation—with a special focus on the needs of firefighters and other emergency services in the 12 h following a major seismic event. It then frames these methodologies in the context of a fine-grain case study of Seattle downtown and identifies three critical zones where mitigation measures would provide the most benefit. The discussion includes challenges in approaching such studies—the largest being available data, the uncertainties in making these evaluations, and general best practices for increased resilience in urban communities similar to the case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNatural Hazards
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Keywords

  • Cascading hazards
  • Fire following earthquake
  • Resilience
  • Seismic
  • Transportation network
  • Water distribution network

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