A Call to Action by the “American Fire Service”: #FireServiceOneVoice

Thanks to Bill Gabbert and Wildfire Today (via Nick Smith) for this one…

The U.S. Fire Administrator and principal leaders from the American fire service, in partnership with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the Philadelphia Fire Department, and the Washington, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, will stand together on Jan. 10‑12 to speak with one voice to address the fire problem facing our nation.

  • 99 million people or a third of the U.S. population now live in the WUI environment, yet most have no idea what WUI is or the dangers it poses.

These are “truths”?  What does that actually mean “most” have no idea what it means? I don’t think the social scientists who study fire-prone WUI areas tells us that.  First you’d have to determine the dangers (say in Maine or Florida, or California) then you’d do a survey to see how aware homeowners were.  And of course, fire isn’t the only WUI danger.  It’s kind of an amazingly generalized statement for folks who are supposed to be experts (and dare I say building trust).

So I looked at this interesting slideshow by FEMA

If you look at the hillside, you’ll see houses with trees around them.  Is that “undeveloped wildland”?  If you live in a treed environment, wouldn’t you want to keep trees when you build a house?  Does this forest count as “fire- dependent or fire-prone”? It looks like a generic eastern forest to me.

This almost seems to conflate all WUI  with “fire problems”.  I see a couple of problems with this..they seem to use all WUI to say “1/3 is in the WUI” but only “Fire WUI” to talk about fire danger.  Which inflates the danger.  Which could be the point of this exercise- it seems more marketing than thoughtful IMHO.


My point is that the WUI is not one thing, it’s not particularly well defined, and in some areas it’s key to developing affordable housing. Personally, I also don’t think saying that 1/3 of people the US are unaware of the issues related to where they live is a good marketing strategy nor develops trust in these experts.


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