Mitigation Touted for Wildland Fire Prevention

Wildland fires, such as those currently blazing through Arizona and scorching numerous other areas in the nation, play a "vital role" in the ecological health of the regions in which they burn. They're part of the natural cycle of life on the planet...

She said with everyone involved, from the land planners making sure buildings have proper setbacks to prevent exposure fires, to firefighters making sure they have access to fire scenes, as well as the training, equipment and water to extinguish the fires, Firewise is making a difference. She said more than 700 communities to date are participating in the program.

There's an added benefit, she said, that in the event something does happen, communities that have done mitigation work and are part of the program are eligible for more federal recovery funds.

"It's the carrot, the incentive to do it," she said.

Mowery said studies have shown that $1 of mitigation equals $4 of suppression efforts.

However, there are still some people who build in the interface and don't heed any warnings regarding mitigation, largely because they feel they have insurance coverage and that the fire department will protect them, Mowery said.

"Unfortunately, there are times fire departments don't have access or the capabilities to fight the fire," Steinberg said.

If homeowners don't want to lose everything, they must do their parts to mitigate the risk, Mowery said.