Wildfire Prevention Preempts Suppression

laddering of trees creates a buffer zone

An example of defensible space at the top of a steep slope where erosion is a concern. Note the separation between groups of tree crowns that soften the rain and provide fog drip. Ladder fuels were removed but their roots left intact. A mixture of naturally occurring native plants serving as ground cover have been preserved.

WUI Lesson 1:  Wildfire Prevention May Preempt the Need for Suppression

This is the first in a series of WUI Lessons, based on the International Wildland Urban Interface meeting in Reno, NV in March, 2015. In this post I’ll explain  some terms that have changed, and why.

The phrase “Wildland/Urban Fire” is now preferred to “Wildland Urban Interface,” because the latter implies you are at danger only at the interface, whereas the great majority of homes are in fact ignited by flying embers as much as a mile away from the flame front.

“Home Ignition Zone” is preferred to “Defensible Space,” because no one will be able to defend your house from the 2% of wildfires that overwhelm firefighters nationwide. Rather, you have to modify the Home Ignition Zone in advance of the fire so that your home may survive on its own.

As fire spreads only to locations in its path where the requirements for ignition are met, it is not capricious. Miracle surviving homes are not the result of a miracle. They survive because of attention to details.

Next: The homeowner’s victim mentality is not justified.