16. Wildfire Control

All wildfires ignited by natural means should be allowed to burn themselves out and should be fought only where they threaten significant structures unless the area has burned too often in the past and continued burning threatens certain species or the natural stability of the environment.

111Due to the very high cost of aerial firefighting ($50,000 per day per aircraft being the most common), such aircraft should be used only sparingly, and only during the most critical phase of a fire’s life, when it first begins. This is the most critical time in the fire’s evolution when ground crews are not able to get to it for several minutes and a good air drop will reduce the intensity of the fire and buy enough time for ground crews to arrive and maintain the handle on it. After a fire is mature, air drops are not as effective, even to the point of questioning whether such expensive firefighting techniques should be used during these time, except for maybe stopping/slowing a fire front from approaching a valuable structure. But the question as to how much of this cost should be borne by the taxpayer and how much should be borne by the actual owner of the structure in harms way is relevant here.

Residents or businesses located within or adjacent to wild land areas or any areas that may be subject to risk of fires, should be the individuals who bear the responsibility to both clear the flammable vegetation away from the property they wish to protect and ensure that various measures are taken to prevent such structures from catching fire. Basically, such structures need to be made fireproof from external flame exposures according to some standards. This would include a grade or assessment for the preventative placement of trees and other vegetation, especially deciduous types, away from the structure so that accumulated leaf litter does not pose a risk of acting as kindling. Code enforcers should levy an annual penalty for properties that are deemed not fireproof enough. Unless, such structure are at an extreme risk of catching fire, there should be no requirement for improving this score. However, annual penalties would still be imposed (on a relative scale based on its degree of fire-safety) on structures that do not meet very high fire proof scores. These fines or levies would be imposed as an incentive for further corrective measures, but such corrective measures should not be mandatory. All property owners should be informed of government firefighting procedures in which wildfires will usually be allowed to burn and that the responsibility will primarily fall on property owners to ensure that their structures are sufficiently fire resistant.


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