Thread: wildland/urban interface
05-17-1999, 05:54 PM #1billyFirehouse.com Guest
Obviously we're aware of the U/I problem. How do you generate interest from the public? What works (and doesn't) for you?
Specifically, what training do you offer to ff to address this problem?
05-18-1999, 12:30 AM #2721Firehouse.com Guest
The public is the hard part, as the people that build in the middle of the woods do so because that is where they want to be. It doesn't matter if it on the side of a mountain, or in the pine barrans of the costal plains.
Before they build is when the information needs to be passed to the homeowner. With consideration for clear space around the home will determine where it should be placed on the lot. It should also effect the choices of building materials, roof covering, size of overhangs, etc. If the buildings codes are not there to support this, many will ignore any recommendations, and build it the way they want it anyway, but maybe some will listen.
Check with your state forestry service to see if they have a booklet for homeowners. The NC forest service has such a booklet, as I am sure many states do. I do not know if the US forest service does, but it might be a source.
The forest service has training materials that address the urban interface aspects of wildland firefighting. Some areas are becoming more active in the UI training, and I have reciently gone through a UI class at a neighboring county fire school. The class was compiled by the chief of a neighboring FD, that has been involved in wildland firefighting for years, and general fire fighting instruction.
The course was well worth the week-end investment, and brought many of the things we know as firefighters (both structural and wildland) togeather with tacticts to make them complement each other. This course was good for the new firefighter, or the seasoned firefighter.
Within a couple of weeks during a major forest fire, these tacticts were put to the test. Out of the 100+ structures in the fire area, none were lost.
A good bit of the material used in the course is from the California Forest Service, for their UI training for wildland ff's in structural protection tacticts.
A three man crew with a little time can even just a brush truck, can save a structure that at first glance doesn't have much of a chance. The training is good in showing what to do in the time you have. What you do before the flame front gets there, and what to do after it has passed assuming you have a defendable structure is simple, but it is not the first instinct of the structural firefighter.
It also teaches you not to waste time on the ones that can't be saved. Things like cedar shake shingles on the roof, big overhanging decks, built in a stand of pines, etc. Priortize and save the ones that you can, and don't waste resources on the ones that you can't.
Good luck with your UI training....
05-28-1999, 02:32 AM #3Brian JohnsonFirehouse.com Guest
If you really want people to sit up and notice what a difference it makes when proper construction and adequate clearances are used around a home in a UI area find the picture of what was called the miracle house in the top of the world area of Laguna Beach, CA. The picture was remarkable as it showed an entire neighborhood burnt to ashes except the one house. Check the Orange County Register archives for October 1993. The Orange County Fire Authority and the Orange County Register also made good videos of the fire. These could be used in a Public Information Campaign.
05-28-1999, 03:55 PM #4dc14398Firehouse.com Guest
Check out www.firewise.org lot of good information on wildland/urban interface
07-27-1999, 12:01 AM #5BigeggFirehouse.com Guest
We have a public education team that has produced, with other fire services in the country, a series of 30 flyers that cover a range of subjects from personal protection what to do with the family pets as well as what to do before and after the fire hits.
The local crew are able to access these flyers and pass them out freely to the pubic. They are simple easy to read and have some of them printed in community languages. They are also used by other fire services in the country.
Having the local brigade to a tour of new house also helps. The crews get to know the area and the people and while they are out they can advise the MOP about fire safety on their propert. It is also good PR for the service.
07-27-1999, 02:51 PM #6BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
We have attempted to have Pre Burn Training for persons conducting Large Controlled Burns, We have a time or two been requested to asses the area where a Burn is to be held and given some feedback or recomendations on clearance and cut back radius, Howevere as with most places nation wide People Burn in the wrong conditions and with no fore thought on Control of the fire they start and then rely on Fire Depts to respond..The U/I is a serious problem here and The Forest Service even attempts to be pro active but it falls on deaf ears until they start Fines for Illegal Burns then people tend to take Heed a little more.
Here today for a Safer Tomorrow
07-29-1999, 10:11 AM #7cbp3Firehouse.com Guest
Here in NJ we have developed an Interface course tailored specifically for the co-operating volunteer agencies we deal with and the actual local hazard they face. We have been concentrating on developing an enhanced relationship with these companies, because they will be on the front lines during any interface incident we experience. Unfortunately, more of our incidents are involving WUI.
As far as the public goes, educating them is problematic at best, since they "know" forest fires only happen in Montana and California.... We use the window created by the occurrence of significant wildfire events in the area of some of these WUI areas for awareness purposes, but find it usually closes in 3-5 years depending on the severity of the fire. Around the retirement communities located in the pine barrens, the window rarely lasts 2 years.
We have developed brochures and pamphlets to warn and educate the public, but getting through to the builders has been fruitless. It is especially frustrating to have the Pinelands Commission, the agency charged with preserving the pinelands, ignore the guidelines it promulgated upon its inception in 1972. Go figure!
08-22-1999, 01:18 PM #8AFFFFirehouse.com Guest
I'm a rural section of Pa. but we are bedroom community for Hagarstown Md. and Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. We have what a lot would call a fast growing Big Problem but the local company heads and municipalities do not want to here about it. Most of the people in my department do not want to even train for this problem and we set in the middle of the moutains. What do I do to fix the problem? We have Forest Fire Wardens in our state and even our Warden is pouzzled about the problem. Please what do we do even having a fire in the area and almost lossing some houses in it doesn't seem to.
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