WUI Lesson 2: The homeowners’ victim mentality is not justified
As the number of wildfires and their intensity skyrockets nation-wide, it has been realized that the problem is solvable with new approaches to wildfire protection that emphasize ignition resistant buildings and reduced ignition potential near structures.
The homeowners’ victim mentality is misplaced. As they own most of the fuel in the home ignition zone, they own the fire. But they are clueless! Catastrophic fires will continue to escalate unless they take responsibility for mitigation on their own property. This is a solvable problem that takes education, changed behavior and action by people working together so they don’t burn together. It takes a community to succeed, as focusing on each home’s ignition zone leads to homes and communities becoming fuel breaks that do not support high intensity fire when exposed to wildfire.
The importance of this is illustrated by analysis of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs, the worst in Colorado history. The fire burned for 12 days, with most of the lost homes being in two large clusters where a single home was ignited by embers, which in turn ignited all the nearby homes.