Overview of fire following earthquake: historical events and community responses

Negar Elhami Khorasani, Maria Eugenia Moreyra Garlock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to present a literature review on the problem of fire following earthquake (FFE) as a potential hazard to communities in seismically active regions. The paper is important to work toward resilient communities that are subject to extreme hazards. Design/methodology/approach: The paper lists and reviews the historical FFE events (20 earthquakes from 7 countries), studies the available analytical tools to evaluate fire ignition and spread in communities after an earthquake, discusses the available studies on performance of individual buildings under post-earthquake fires and summarizes the current literature on mitigation techniques for post-earthquake fires. Findings: FFE can be considered a potential hazard for urban communities that are especially not prepared for such conditions. The available analytical models are not yet fully up to the standards that can be used by city authorities for decision-making, and therefore, should be further validated. Limited structural analyses of individual buildings under FFE scenarios have been completed. Results show that the drift demand on the building frame increases during post-earthquake fires. Despite the mitigation actions, there are still urban cities that are not prepared for such an event, such as certain areas of California in the USA. Originality/value: The paper is a complete and an exhaustive collection of literature on different aspects of FFE. Research in earthquake engineering is well advanced, while structural analyses under fire load and performance of communities under FFE can be further advanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-174
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


  • Analytical model
  • Community response
  • Fire following earthquake
  • Fire ignition
  • Fire mitigation
  • Fire spread


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