Wildfire preparedness: creating defensible space


By John Gilbert

Special to The SUN

Every year, close to 75,000 natural and human-caused wildfires occur, affecting nearly 7 million acres in the U.S.

From 2000 to 2008, an average of 2,800 homes per year were destroyed. As the population increases, so does the increase in homes being built in the wildland urban interface (WUI). This is where unoccupied land meets human development. Virtually all of Archuleta County is in the WUI.

Fires are not always bad. In recent years, our community has experienced two large wildland fires that were managed for resource benefit. While having some negative impact, the positive impact was present, as well. We live in a forest ecosystem in which wildfire is a natural occurring and much needed event. However, with the increase of the WUI, it poses risks to citizens, property and the fire management agencies that protect them.

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