Wildfires and Drought:
Of course, in a natural setting, cycles of growth, burn and replenishment work in harmony to reset nature, but mankinds penchant for building increases density and thus proximity to nature encroaches upon the wilds. Principally the drive of this, is the desire to live among beauty, often in hilly, mountainous, or picturesque dry areas. This has guaranteed the incidence of wildfires and threat to settlement, especially given increased drought given severe climate change that is here to stay.
Well Known and Historic, Wildfires in the United States:
Oakland Firestorm of 1991
‘One of the worst urban blazes in modern history, the Oakland Firestorm of 1991 began as a relatively small grass fire in the Berkeley Hills. But after being persistently fanned by the strong seasonal “Diablo winds,” that brush fire eventually grew to consume 1,520 acres, including more than 3,500 homes, apartments and condominiums. Such destruction — and in such a densely populated area — meant the disaster carried one of the heftiest price tags for wildfire damage in U.S. history: an estimated $1.5 billion.’
‘Shocking footage of the fires was recorded by media outlets and individual citizens. Here’s an example below’:
Click here, for above video of Oakland Hills Firestorm.
2007 California wildfires
‘Each wildfire season in California seems to top the last, but the 2007 wildfires are especially notable for leading to the largest evacuation in California history. In total, the fires displaced nearly 1 million people and razed at least 1,500 homes in the San Diego area alone. The area covered by the various blazes was massive: more than 500,000 acres stretching from Santa Barbara County all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border.
To read further, see the ‘10 of the worst wildfires in U.S. history’, by Bryon Nelson.
Other Firewise News in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Texas:
Firewise is a trend born of necessity, especially in Western States. There are too many to mention, but recognized areas in the Western States include:
Pacific Northwest and West Coast
Washington State: Forest Ridge, Hartstene Pointe, Lake Cushman, Lummi Island Estates, Orcas Highlands, River Bluff Ranch, Ryderwood, Shelter Bay, and Tolt.
Oregon Firewise areas include: Ashland, Aspen Lake, Cascade Meadows Ranch, Fall River Estates, Pine Creek, and Rimrock West.
California: Alta Sierra, Auburn Lake Trails, Beverly Hills, Big Bear Lake, Forest Meadows, Grizzly Flats, Orleans Humboldt County, Quincy, Talmadge, Whiting Woods, and Yankee Hill.
Idaho: Cave Bay, Conkling Park, Johnny Creek, and Wilderness Ranch.
Montana: Bigfork, Cathedral Mountain, Double Arrow Ranch, Em Kayan Village.
Utah: Emigration Canyon, Sundance.
Colorado: Cordillera, Deer Creek Valley Ranchos, Fern Creek, Genesee, Log Hill Mesa, Majestic Park and Forest Edge County Ridge Estates, Perry Park, Windcliff, and Woodmoor
Nevada: Crescent Valley, and Eureka.
Arizona: Forest Highlands, Hidden Valley Ranch, Highland Pines, Kohl’s Ranch, Lakeside, Oracle.
Rim Golf Club, and Timber Ridge.
New Mexico: Elk Ridge, Greater Eastern Jemez, Hidden Lake, Village of Ruidoso, and Taos Pines Ranch.
Texas: Brooks Lake, Eagle Landing, Etoile, The Horizon, McDonald Observatory, Meadow Mountain, Saddle Ridge, Solana Ranch, Sun City and River Place, Tierra Linda, Trails of Lake LBJ, Wildcatter Ranch, and Windsor Hills
Alaska: Cohoe, and Horseshoe Lake.
Hawaii: Kohala by the Sea
Oregon Department of Forestry
Firewise Communities USA: ‘Are you interested in helping protect your community from the risk of catastrophic wildfire? Firewise Communities/USA may be for you!
The Firewise Communities/USA program is a resource for communities, tribes, fire departments and organizations who are working toward a common goal: to reduce loss of lives, property, and resources to wildland fire by building and maintaining communities compatible with their natural surroundings. It is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers and others before a fire starts. The Firewise Communities approach emphasizes community responsibility for planning safer communities and effective emergency response, as well as individual responsibility for safer home construction, design, landscaping, and maintenance. Firewise Communities USA focuses fire prevention efforts where homeowners can make a difference: in their own yards.
The program is simple, and community-driven. Interested communities:
- Form a Firewise board to steer the community’s efforts.
- Enlist the help of a wildland-urban interface specialist to complete a community assessment.
- Create a plan with achievable solutions to concerns identified during the assessment.
- Hold an annual Firewise Day dedicated to a local Firewise project, and:
- Invest at least $2/capita annually in local Firewise projects. (This investment can be met through donations, grants and volunteer and equipment time…..and all the money invested stays within the community!).