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Friday, July 30, 2010

Wildfire Shows Why NOT to Allow Foothills Homes

Wildfire Shows Why NOT to Allow Foothills Homes

Wednesday, July 28th by David R. Frazier

BLM chopper battles fire north of Eagle on Wednesday

The terms are all too familiar…”structures are threatened…trying to get a handle on the fire…lightning caused…man caused…” tallies on the number of engines, tankers, retardant aircraft, helicopters, and hotshot crews from other locations.

The reason for the massive response is all too familiar as well–lives and property are endangered because people move into areas subject to wildfire and local politicos allow the development. GROWTHOPHOBES can complain forever, but it seems little changes and emergency crews are forced to respond as fire rages across the so-called “urban wilderness interface.”

At this writing it appears three homes are damaged or destroyed by a Wednesday fire believed to have been caused when lightning strikes dotted the landscape Wednesday morning north of Eagle. An estimated 2,500 acres which is currently targeted for residential development was scorched. One firefighter told the GUARDIAN, “It certainly wouldn’t be a pretty sight” if the area is developed as proposed.
At least 50 fire engines, 5 air tankers, and hundreds of firefighters from Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Star, BLM, etc. etc. are as the TV folks like to say, “On Scene!”
As a former editor at the trade journal “FIRE ENGINEERING,” the GUARDIAN is an old hand at covering fires and the fire service. Yellowstone’s Old Faithful firestorm was the worst. Over the years we find politicos put an unneeded burden on fire chiefs and firefighters alike when they increase the demands–and risks–all in the name of GROWTH. One issue which hampered emergency crews was also familiar: Police and Fire can’t communicate. The technology exists with the new radio communications system, but the players can’t seem to agree on who gets access to which frequencies.

On the bright side we saw one McMansion north of Beacon Light Rd. that survived a direct wildfire assault because the owners did the right things creating “defensible space.” From everything we observed and heard, the emergency responders did their jobs well battling the fire, traffic, and conducting evacuations.

                   Firewise planning saved this luxury home.

1 comment:

  1. Houses built in flood planes are just as pea brained. A few years ago, TV reporters covered the flooded Boise River which was just feet from an Eagle mansion. The outraged lawyer/owner was proclaiming to the world that the law suits would be many. At that point it's a little late to realize that maybe you shouldn't have built your dream on a flood plane.
    Next time, perhaps the litigater should try doing what Humperhy Bogart suggested to Edward G. Robinson, in Key Largo, to stop the hurricane,
    "shoot the storm, Rocco". Shoot the snow pack counsleor!


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