Utility pole failures are a known cause of wildland fires. Over the past 15 years in the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Idaho Boise District, 299 wildland fires have been related to electric utility powerline structure failures, an average of 20 wildland fires per year. Routine inspection and maintenance would likely reduce the number of wildland fires caused by utility pole failures. The sheer number of poles and the great distances over which electrical lines span in the BLM Idaho Boise District are factors that complicate regular inspections. BLM recognizes the need for a robust inspection protocol that can be performed quickly and easily in the field. To that end, BLM, the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, and Mississippi State University are working jointly to develop an inspection procedure that is comprehensive, fast, and portable. This report summarizes background information on common engineering properties of wood and deterioration mechanisms that affect wood structural performance and describes current state-of-the-art techniques used for field inspection of wood structures.