Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Mitigating risk to responders and the public has long been a paramount consideration for wildland fire managers. We need your perspectives on potential trends that might impact public and firefighter safety in in 10-20 years. For example, consider the following questions:

  • In 10-20 years will the type and degree of wildland fire safety issues that citizens and firefighters face be the same or different from today?
  • How might the geographic distribution of risk and safety issues differ from today?
  • How will homes in the wildland urban interface (WUI) be protected in 10-20 years?
  • In 10-20 years, how will wildland firefighter safety be managed?

Feel free to answer any of these questions, or come up with your own scenarios of how the future might look different in 10-20 years with regard to public and firefighter safety.

Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

The Insurance Industry Should Help Reduce WUI Wildfire Losses

While most insurance policies cover losses from wildfires, the insurance industry could do a lot more to reduce the losses and costs from wildfires - much like they do for flooding or hurricanes. For example, they could require or give discounts for mitigating hazards and using "Firewise" practices; give discounts for using fire proof materials in construction or remodeling, especially roofing; and conduct periodic ...more »

Submitted by (@gamlam1107)

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23 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Prevent Scope Creep in Wildland operations when WUI becomes involved

Increasingly, Wildland firefighters find themselves in the midst of dynamic environments in the WUI assigned to tasks that they have not trained for. Type 1 IC's even recently commented at the WUI summit that "we now have type 1 crews cutting decks off of burning houses and running bulldozers through backyards" to do structure protection. IC's must have the courage and integrity to avoid assigning resources where they ...more »

Submitted by (@r1elliot)

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15 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Organizational Border Theory

The geographical interface between different jurisdictions can prove to be complex places for initial attack. Cultural and technical differences between fire organizations often lead to delays and conflicts until truly common operations are established. We need to study human behavior with regard to these border response areas and develop pro active ways of developing seamless response to emergencies (in addition to ...more »

Submitted by (@mikebenefield1)

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4 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

WUI risk for all will just get bigger & worse unless land use planning changes

WUI, and exurban intermix areas will keep expanding as populations grow. Firefighters will protect lives and property in communities that haven't been built yet. Citizens and their local governments will determine (actively or by default) where and how fire safe they will be. Current research (cafiresci.org/wui) suggests specific ways to locate, plan, and construct new communities in order to reduce their exposure to ...more »

Submitted by (@robertstaylor)

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31 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Critical Site Universal Blueprint

Interface Dwellers and Fire Fighters should understand how to strategically position all critical sites, where 1. All vegetation is converted to a shaded fuel break 200' around that which is to be protected. Trees thinned to have 25' space between crowns; pruned of ladder fuels up 12 feet high. 2. That there be 3 permanent circular control lines. First one 6 to 10 feet completely around structure. 2nd control line two ...more »

Submitted by (@troop.dragonslayers)

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0 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Build Fire-Permeable landscapes in the west

We need to build a fire permeable landscape in the west. We need to use fire to restore forest resiliency and to use zoning and building codes to reduce flammability of structures. For example, in ponderosa pine and mixed conifer, let wildfire do the work in remote landscapes, use controlled fire to reduce surface and ladder fuels near towns and finally do mechanical treatment in the backyards. Combine these approaches ...more »

Submitted by (@rfairbanks)

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6 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Develop a set of common sense wildfire prevention ordinances

There is a need to look at ways to decrease the rising costs of wildfire suppression due to human caused ignitions that put communities and firefighters at risk. Some possible actions to explore include: 1. Implementing coordinated information and education sharing methods regarding successful state and local government community growth management planning and enforcement that results in sustainable wildfire risk reduction ...more »

Submitted by (@gamlam1107)

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17 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Utilizing Private Industry to its capacity.

Would like to see a path developed to utilize the Professional Private industry in the roles of Type 1 Hand Crews as well as filling overhead positions. The capability is there but not currently being utilized. There is a concern about succession within the agencies, and the private industry could help fill this gap.

Submitted by (@nationalwildfiresuppressionassociation)

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19 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Fire Protection from the House out, rather than from the Wildland in

Research has clearly demonstrated that the most effective way to protect lives, property, and the natural environment from wildland fire is to focus directly on making communities more fire safe rather than spending millions of dollars clearing habitat far from assets at risk. This provides for long-term solutions rather than endlessly trying to modify the natural environment. Fuel treatments can provide some benefit, ...more »

Submitted by (@richardw.halsey)

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41 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

We need a Paradigm Shift: Prepare, Stay, and Defend as a viable option

The challenge of increased wildland fires impacting human communities requires a dramatic paradigm shift in how wildland urban interface (WUI) residents are viewed and what is expected of them. The failed paradigm of WUI residents as helpless victims of fire must be completely banished. In the new paradigm, WUI residents will be highly pro-active participants in protecting their homes and their lives. All WUI residents ...more »

Submitted by (@julierogers03)

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12 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Better Education of Homeowners means safer firefighters

Education starts with clear terminology. Say woo-ee to the average person and they have no idea what you are talking about. The term "defensible space" is outdated and needs to be replaced with the more accurate "survivable space." Evaluate all the jargon used by the pros and make it understandable without long-winded explanation. Any homeowner in or near wildlands should receive a copy of "The Fire Smart Home Handbook." ...more »

Submitted by (@wuidweller)

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7 votes
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Campaign: Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

Re-think the Investment Strategy in the Firefighting Workforce

A different approach to investment in firefighting workforce is needed. Budget cuts are reducing the number and quality of the on-the-ground firefighting workforce. Budget cuts always seem to land at the field more than at the national level. Continued and increased investment in the firefighting workforce is necessary in order to maintain capacity to respond to wildfire as well as mitigate fire hazards. Declining ...more »

Submitted by (@gamlam1107)

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10 votes
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