Where is the wildland urban interface in SLC?
Salt Lake City encompasses approximately 97 square miles in area. Much of that area is what we know as the Wildland Urban Interface or (WUI). The Forest Service defines this as the area where homes meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation. Homes that are within 0.5 miles of this area are included in this area.
What is SLC Fire doing to prepare?
Salt Lake City Fire Department is currently working on a Community Wildfire Preparedness Plan (CWPP). This plan is a requirement of SB122, and allows cities to enter into a cooperative agreement with the State to help pay for the cost of catastrophic wildfires in Salt Lake City. In order to participate in the agreement, Salt Lake City is required to invest in prevention, preparedness, and mitigation activities to reduce wildfire risk. This is done through hard dollars and or “in-kind” matches from volunteer hours and donations. In return, the State agrees to assume the costs of suppressing catastrophic wildfire when the city delegates the management of the fire to the state. As a result, the Salt Lake City Fire Council began meeting in late January 2017 to develop the CWPP. This Fire Council is made up of representatives from Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake City residents, and other Salt Lake City stakeholders, such as the University of Utah, the Hogle Zoo, Red Butte Gardens, and This is the Place State Park, to name a few examples of people involved with developing this plan. The goal is to come up with public education opportunities and mitigation projects within the city to reduce the wildfire risk to our community so we can be more prepared for and safer during a wildfire event. In addition to the CWPP, the Salt Lake City Fire Department has a strong commitment to wildfire training for our firefighters. We are constantly on the lookout for new equipment and training methods to increase our abilities to protect the neighborhoods and homes that we serve.
Does the fire department have any education programs in place
The Ready, Set, Go! Program is something that the Salt Lake City Fire Department has been promoting for several years now and is part of the prevention section of the CWPP. The goal is to improve the dialog between the fire department and residents in order to prepare for wildfire. This dialog can serve to discuss the wildfire danger in the area, fire resources available during a wildfire, and the role individual residents play in preparedness and evacuations if deemed necessary. These events happen in neighborhoods within the WUI in the spring as firefighters go door to door handing out wildfire safety information and talking with residents.
The Firewise Program encourages local solutions by involving homeowners in taking responsibility for preparing their houses for the risk of wildfire. Firewise teaches people how to reduce wildfire risk their homes and communities, as well as encourages neighbors to work together and adapt to living in an area at risk for wildfire. Firewise emphasizes that all members of a community have a role to lay in protecting themselves and each other from the risk of wildfire. Salt Lake City Fire would like to see Salt Lake City recognized as a Firewise community.