High Country Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council
Local People Solving Local Problems
Idaho Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
Many homeowners move into and near wildland areas to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of nature. These areas are often referred to as the wildland urban interface or WUI for short. Unfortunately, people don’t realize they have moved into a natural environment that thrives on periodic wildfire.
To learn more about what has been done in 2008-2012 East Idaho's BLM Wild Fire Program please read our 5 year report attached to the left.
High Country, with generous long-term funding through BLM’s Community Fire Assistance Program and other partners, have developed an educational program for homeowners and homeowner associations (HOAs).
It includes workshops on building defensible space, demonstrations, assistance in developing HOA fuel reduction plans, technical assistance for communities to obtain “Firewise Community” status, and grant writing assistance for HOAs to complete fuels reduction. We also provide assistance to Counties and other communities to develop and adopt WUI codes and complete hazard mitigation plans.
In 2013 we will be implementing a cost-share program for land owners to complete fuels reduction. It has an incentive built in, which encourages neighbors to participate together in the project.
"If you have chosen to live in the wildland urban interface, you have assumed the risk and responsibility to
protect your family, home, property, and surrounding environment from wildfire. Do not expect firefighters to
risk their lives to protect a home where the owner has not taken the risk of wildfire seriously and hasn’t
created a fire resistant buffer and provided for safe access to the property."
Click here to view Idaho's Current Fire Danger: http://www.fs.fed.us/land/wfas/fd_class.png
Why should I care?
For over a century, people have suppressed
natural fires because they “get in the way” of
human land-use and aesthetics. As a result,
excess vegetation (fuels) has been accumulating
in the WUI creating an environment conducive to
If your home or property is nestled among
trees, junipers, sage, or other dangerous
fuels, you are in the path of a potentially
destructive fire. Even homes and properties a
mile away from the actual flames can be
When wildfires threaten homes there is not
enough time to move all valuables, livestock, and
other belongings to a safer place. Not to mention,
some insurance companies are wising up to the
liability of homes in the WUI with little or no
protection from wildfire.
What Can I Do?
As private landowners living in the WUI, you have a
responsibility to reduce hazardous fuels on your property.
Many believe this involves removing all of the trees and other
vegetation by stripping property to bare ground. Although, bare
ground may be an effective means of reducing the
threat of fire, it is not aesthetically pleasing and can cause severe
soil erosion. Instead, when creating a wildfire defensible space,
remove or thin only that vegetative material that can threaten
your home, consider fire resistant construction materials, and
don’t locate combustibles such as propane tanks and wood piles
next to structures.
By applying “Firewise” principles, you can increase the chances of your home and property surviving a wildfire by 90 to 95%. Many homeowners have also been shocked to find out their home, surrounded by a sea of black, is being appraised at 10% to 70% less than it was prior to the wildfire. It should not be surprising that the trees and other natural landscaping that made your property appealing in the first place are worth a great deal when it comes to the home’s value.
For more information on what you can do to protect your home against wildland fires, or to learn
more about efforts to reduce fuels in the WUI, please contact your local fire department.
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