A Balanced Approach to Preparing for Wildfire

A Balanced Approach to Preparing for Wildfire

Living in Jackson Hole means living in wildfire country. The 2012 Horsethief Canyon fire cost millions and put the town itself at risk, while the 2001 Green Knoll fire threatened hundreds of homes. Primarily because of climate change, the risk of bigger, badder wildfires is expected to increase sevenfold in the coming years. Imagine the 1988 Yellowstone fires becoming a normal occurrence. Consider that approximately 4,500 homes in Teton County are located in the wildland-urban interface, directly in the path of future wildfires. Think about the threat this poses to our families, our homes and property, and the budgets of the Forest Service and our local firefighting agencies.

All of this is part of why the Bridger-Teton National Forest is proposing the Teton to Snake Fuels Management Project in the area south of Teton pass to manage fires, improve firefighter safety, allow fires to burn in a more natural way and ultimately help protect homes in the wildland-urban interface.

In moving forward with this project the Forest Service should balance the need to manage fires against both the requirement to maintain the wilderness character of the Palisades Wilderness Study Area, while protecting important wildlife and habitat. This means that the Forest Service should keep actions that impact wilderness qualities, wildlife, and habitat to the absolute minimum.

This is why the Alliance joined with our partners at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in submitting comments on the Teton to Snake Project asking the Forest Service to take a close look at several ways by which they could reduce potential impacts on Wilderness Study and Inventoried Roadless Areas.

Science shows that the best way to reduce the risk of homes burning in forest fires is to treat and manage the areas immediately around homes and structures. Yet, less than 10 percent of the thousands of homes in the wildland-urban interface are protected to “firewise” standards. Each of us has a moral responsibility to do what we can on our property to prepare for wildfire. To learn more about what you can do to prepare your property for wildfire (and reduce conflicts with wildlife) check out Wildneighborhoods.org.

Click here to read our comments and recommendations for taking a balanced approach to preparing for wildfire while protecting wildlife habitat and wilderness on the Teton to Snake Fuels Management project.

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001