June 10, 2009
Study criticizes U.S. wildfire mitigation
U.S. researchers are criticizing federal wildfire mitigation efforts, saying only 11 percent have occurred near homes or offices during the last five years.
The analysis of the U.S. National Fire plan, led by the University of Colorado-Boulder, shows although more people now live in or near fire-prone forests, most federally funded activities to reduce wildfire hazards have occurred far from the
wildland-urban interface, researchers said.
Our comprehensive analysis suggests that fire mitigation treatments do not effectively target the wildland-urban interface,said Tania Schoennagel, who led a team that examined 44,000 federally funded wildfire mitigation projects in 11 western states between 2004 and 2008.
Schoennagel said her team is the first to evaluate the U.S. National Fire Plan's management activities across the West, and to compare the location of fire-mitigation treatments to the wildland-urban interface and its nearby surroundings.
The team, which included Teresa Chapman of CU-Boulder, Cara Nelson and Gunner Carnwath of the University of Montana and David Theobald of Colorado State University, reports its findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.