With snow covering the high peaks and temperatures dipping below freezing every night, many of us are not thinking about wildfire threats anymore, even after a particularly scary fire season in Northwest Wyoming this past summer. But for those involved in wildfire mitigation, this can be a very busy time of year.
I recently had the good fortune to join Robb Sgroi, Land Resources Specialist / Fuels Mitigation Coordinator at the Teton Conservation District, for a wildfire home ignition zone assessment of the Kelly Campus of Teton Science Schools. The assessment is designed to help determine “how vulnerable the structures” will be during a wildfire and to convey recommendations that should be taken so that the homes will have a better chance to survive a wildfire.
The campus consists of about 30 buildings, many of which are historic. Because assessments look at all aspects of a property, from the foundation to the chimney of a home and from a structure to more than 100 feet in all directions away from it, it took several visits to complete the assessment, though I only tagged along for the final one.
As Robb repeatedly walked around each home looking for combustible construction materials and spaces where embers could enter and ignite a structure, he also considered vegetation and landscaping, flammable materials such as propane tanks and gas grills, and even parking locations. His thorough assessment of the property will help them to make safe choices about how to best prepare the Kelly campus for the threat of future wildfires.
All and all, the Teton Science Schools Kelly campus has done a great job of mitigating for wildfire and by following the recommendations of Robb and the Teton Conservation District, they’ll be well on their way to having a campus that is safe for its residents and the surrounding environment.
To learn more about how you can protect your home from wildfire or to schedule an assessment for your property, please contact the Teton Conservation District at 307-733-2110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can even tell you about a National Fire Plan grant award through Wyoming State Forestry Division, which provides cost share funds and assessment services for defensible space projects by private landowners in Teton County that you may qualify for and could save you money!