INLC holds a conservation easement on the 503-acre Maucieri property near Harrison, Idaho. On July 13, John Maucieri called me with some good news, bad news. Bad news, was that their land on Indian Mountain had caught fire. A power line had gone down and sparked a fire that spread into their forest, burning 12 acres. The good news was the mature trees in the forest survived, thanks to forest management work the family did in 2014, and thanks to the fire crews that were able to contain the fire the same day because the fire had stayed low to the ground. The conservation easement allows timber harvests, consistent with an INLC-approved forest management plan and supervised by a professional forester. In 2014, the Maucieri’s forester, Tom Davis, oversaw logger Rusty Young and his crew doing the thinning and fire risk reduction work on Indian Mountain. I visited the operation and was impressed. Tom and John had selected the weaker trees for removal, and the loggers were careful not to damage the remaining trees. They also removed brush and “ladder fuels” that could carry fire. As a result, the mature trees survived, and the hillside will soon be suitable for picnicking again!
The photos below show how FireSmart™ treatment minimized the damage from the fire.
Before the fire - photo courtesy of John Maucieri
After the fire - photo courtesy of John Maucieri
The FireSmart™ Program
FireSmart™ is a proactive program of Kootenai County and the National Fire Plan. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the hazards associated with wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas of Kootenai County and to mitigate those hazards wherever possible. FireSmart™ helps landowners learn how to create a fire safe zone around their home, reduce the ignitability of structures and create safe access for firefighters and other emergency personnel. The program also assists property owners in creating fuel breaks designed to protect themselves and their community from wildfire. Tips from the program include creating a “lean, green and clean” area 30 feet around your home; creating and maintaining “defensible” space at least 100 feet from this lean, green, clean area, identifying and controlling noxious weeds, and pruning vegetation over driveways to a minimum height of 13.5 feet for clearance for emergency vehicles. Of course all the FireSmart™ tips apply to properties in WUI areas anywhere; to see the full list please visit: http://www.kcgov.us/departments/disaster/firesmart/firesmart.asp.