Forest Red Zone Report.. Link to Bob Berwyn Post

structures lost to wildfire

Bob Berwyn has a nice post on the new Red Zone Report.

Here is a link to his post.
Below is an excerpt.
Here is a link to the report. It is a GTR from the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

According to the report, about 32 percent of U.S. housing units and 10 percent of all land with housing are the wildland-urban interface. The growth of residential zones around fire-prone forests has resulted in huge budget challenges for the Forest Service. Between 2001 and 2010, fire suppression costs doubled to about $1.2 billion. Read the full report here.

Other costs include restoration, lost tax and business revenues, property damage and costs to human health and lives. As and example, the report cites the 1996 Buffalo Creek Fire, which resulted in more than $2 million in flood damage and $20 million in damage to Denver Water’s supply system.

From the report:

In 2000, nearly a third of U.S. homes (37 million) were located in the WUI.
More than two-thirds of all land in Connecticut is identified as WUI.
California has more homes in WUI than any other State—3.8 million.
Between 1990 and 2000, more than 1 million homes were added to WUI in California, Oregon, and Washington combined.
WUI is especially prevalent in areas with natural amenities, such as the northern Great Lakes, the Missouri Ozarks, and northern Georgia.
In the Rocky Mountains and the Southwest, virtually every urban area has a large ring of WUI, as a result of persistent population growth in the region that has generated medium and low-density housing in low- elevation forested areas.

“The Wildfire, Wildlands and People report reminds us that people can and should take steps to protect their homes from wildfires,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Communities with robust wildfire prevention programs are likely to have fewer human-caused wildfires. In addition, fire intensity is dramatically reduced in areas where restoration work has occurred.”

Between 2006 and 2011, some 600 assessments were completed on wildfires that burned into areas where restoration work had taken place. In most of these cases, fire intensity was reduced dramatically in treated areas. Residents can reduce excess vegetation within and around a community to reduce the intensity and growth of future fires and create a relatively safe place for firefighters to work to contain a wildfire, should one occur.

8 thoughts on “Forest Red Zone Report.. Link to Bob Berwyn Post”

  1. If that many homes are in the WUI, and if “… fire intensity is dramatically reduced in areas where restoration work has occurred.”, wouldn’t that be a good thing to do in those areas within 5 miles of communities, instead of solely within 150 feet (as preservationists prefer)???

  2. Larry, could you please give me an example of where “preservationists” are calling for “restoration work” to only happen “solely within 150 feet” of communities? I’ve never heard anyone make the claim that all forest restoration efforts need to be within 50 yards of a community, so just want to make sure someone isn’t spreading false rumors here. Thanks.

      • Once again Larry, I’ll ask you for some EVIDENCE and/or DOCUMENTATION to back up your claim…otherwise you are just guilty of spreading false rumors on this topic….again.

        • Of course, there is always Chad Hanson’s preference to eliminate all timber sales.

          Hanson’s way to save homes from wildfires.
          “The only effective way to protect homes from wildland fire is to reduce the combustibility of the homes themselves, and reduce brush and very small trees within 100 feet of the homes.”

          The Arizona Sierra Club extends non-commercial treatments a little farther than Hanson.
          “Forest treatment beyond the immediate area surrounding houses has little effect on community protection from wildfire. However, an intensive zone of 200 meters (660 feet) around communities can
          provide a defensible space and a potential fireline for firefighters. Treatment of this buffer should require the removal of ladder fuels and general fuels reductions. The surrounding forest 1/2 mile from the edge of the community should be assessed and, if needed, treated for fuels reduction.”

  3. Larry, your comments about the size of the WUI are laughable, at least in the framework of the local WUI around Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
    The WUI maps at the eastern edge of CDA extend easterly for several miles up into the IPNF!! This mapping was done years ago, by some really-knowledgeable county committee.
    The 50 yards you seem to relate to is the intensely managed and trimmed backyards of residents, if they care at all about protecting their holdings.
    There is considerable opinion (and evidence?) that thinned and fire-proofed zones of 1/4-1/2 mile into the forest will do the job in most conditions short of a total blowup, Santa Anna winds situation. And you and I know, if you have ever been in a blowup fire vicinity, that nothing is going to stop the spread if the winds and humidity are extreme. Even your beloved thinning will not be enough!

    • The issue is that some people INSIST on having a very small WUI, claiming that it is adequate to protect other people’s properties. The key is that it is not solely about protecting houses. It is also about protecting communities, including the surrounding forest. Do YOU want a sea of snags surrounding your town? Do YOU want a bark beetle infestation running through your town, killing the surviving trees? I have seen it happen, many times. There are many levels of fire intensity that are between a ground fire and a raging crown fire, and thinning can improve the chances of stopping the fire and reducing its impacts. Finally, some people continue to publicly announce they don’t care if red state residences burn, as per the comments in many newspaper articles. If we could eliminate the partisan politics, we might notice that WUI issues are minimal from a scientific and humanitarian viewpoint.


Leave a Comment

Discover more from The Smokey Wire : National Forest News and Views

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading