About the Wildland Urban Interface
Establishment of the Wildland Urban Interface
Teton County is known for expansive vistas, large swaths of forested lands managed by private and public entities. Fires has historically been a natural part of the environment. As the valley watched the 1988 Yellowstone Fires, many realized if it could happen there, it could happen here. A group of fire managers began work to study fire on the landscape; mapping the interface between forest areas and homes referred to as the wildland urban interface (WUI), forming the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition (TAWPC), and writing a community wildfire protection plan (CWPP).
As new construction pushed into the interface areas, rules pertaining to building fire resistant construction for structures within these higher hazard fire areas would help prevent structure loss in the event of future fire. These codes were adopted in 2008 with the ability to adjust the ignition resistance of the structure in relation to the fire severity of the area.
Review & Revision
Review and revision of the CWPP began in 2013. Jackson Hole Fire/EMS began WUI assessments along Fall Creek Road and in the Pacific Creek Subdivision, north of Jackson. In the course of this work, 188 WUI assessments were made with 59 homeowner contacts, and pre-incident planning on 13 subdivisions. This work is intended to continue spring/summer 2014.
The CWPP was revised and updated June 2014, thanks to the hard work from many stakeholders. The TAWPC group determined a uniform message was critical for public education. The NFPA Firewise program and Ready-Set-Go were determined to be effective and easy to access messages. View Firewise and Ready, Set, Go information.
Learning from Colorado
As Wyoming watches neighbor Colorado suffer three summers of intense wildland fires, much can be learned from their losses. Several videos have been produced illuminating the firefighter safety concerns, increased costs associated with fighting fire in areas that have structures, and the need for homeowners to help protect their homes.
Waldo Canyon (PDF) is a video illustrating the susceptibility of structures becoming fuel loads spreading fire. The Denver Post video speaks to the crown fire and rapid fire spread through the Black Forest and its structures and another on the Black Forest Fire can be watched at Black Forest video.