FS’s Rocky Mtn Research Station: Rural homes must be more fire resistant

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and the newspaper has an article that basically re-states what you’ve been saying for nearly the past twenty years, at least as far as home wildfire protection is concerned.

Making rural homes more resistant to fire is the best way to reduce the number of homes lost to wildland fires, according to a recent paper published by Missoula researchers.

That statement may suggest a “duh, right,” but in the past much of the pressure to reduce the intensity and occurrence of wildland fires has been on federal and state land managers to remove fuels from public lands through logging.

“We have the ability to change the character of the fires that come out of the wildlands,” said David Calkin, of the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, the principal author of the research. “But if we’re concerned about homes burning up, then we need to think about the home ignition zone.”

Jack Cohen, Mark Finney and Matthew Thompson collaborated on the research paper.

The home ignition zone is the home itself and the area immediately around it. If a homeowner’s land is left untreated to prevent fire ignition, even low-intensity fires from far away have produced firebrands carried by the wind for miles that have burned houses, Calkin’s research showed.

Read Brett French’s entire article here.

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