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Living with Fire Part 2: Building the fire-adapted communities through land-use planning

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this three-part series, Montana Free Press examines how federal land management agencies have approached wildfire in the past and highlights key public and private sector developments that could change how we engage with it in the future. Previously: Part 1 – The evolution of wildfire suppression.


Greg Dillon, a spatial fire analyst at the fire sciences lab, helped map Missoula County’s fire hazard for its Community Wildfire Protection Plan using a huge array of variables, including topography, recent fire history, and vegetation type. By next spring, that kind of detailed fire-risk mapping will be publicly available in an online format so land-use planners, elected officials, and fire managers nationwide can make informed decisions at the community or county scale.

“What’s exciting to me is that we’re developing more and more sophisticated and thoughtful tools to help [firefighters and fire managers] make better decisions,” Dillon said of the new research. Such tools are designed to inform both immediate strategic decisions about active fires and broader, forward-looking policies geared toward fire management, rather than a default strategy of suppression. “My hope is that in the next 20 years we see more of that stuff being widely adopted,” Dillon said.


News Source: 
Montana Free Press
Thursday, July 4, 2019