The State Fire Mitigation coordinator is ultimately responsible for overseeing the entire state fire and fuel control plan. This includes the preparation of fire prevention and protection plans, development of community resource programs, and education efforts. The coordinator helps home, and property owners who live on the wildland/Urban interface bring awareness to what can be done to reduce and eliminate their fire hazards and encourage preventable fire growth within their communities. In doing so, the coordinator ensures that sufficient fire service is available to help relieve the risk of loss of life and extensive property damage.
The basic goal of fire mitigation is to reduce the rate at which fuels are burned. This goal is typically achieved through vegetation management. This includes reducing the rate at which vegetation grows; the depth of such growth; and the number and size of mature plants on a property. There are many different techniques used to manage vegetation and to determine its vulnerability to fuel buildup. This includes: restricting the planting of certain trees or plants, increasing the distance between vegetation beds, ensuring adequate spacing between combustible materials, and creating an “ice lawn” or “frost strip.”
On a broader scale, the manager is also responsible for ensuring that fuel breaks between vegetation do not occur. Ensuring no fuel breaks allow for greater return on investment (ROI) and across the nation. Ensuring that fuel breaks are taken care of properly will allow for better utilization of existing vegetation. A manager should be involved in any decision about land management and fire mitigation and have a good understanding of the national forests.
When a property is purchased and the land transferred to a new owner, the previous owner must submit a plan to the Forest Service (FSCS) stating how to maintain the land. Some of these plans relate to how to plant trees and bushes and how to plant seedlings. One of the main goals of the fire mitigation plan is to provide for the continuity of the existing vegetation. In other words, the planting should be designed so that there will not be an imbalance with the number of trees and bushes that will need to be removed to keep the land conducive to forest growth.
Another important component in the fire mitigation plan is to “prune” the trees and bushes that do not grow too thick. This can include removing old and mature trees that produce more fuels than can actually be used on a property. For example, if a homeowner planted five pine needles on a property but does not have any way to harvest the pine needles the next season, that homeowner would be required by law to remove those five pine needles.
Fireplace grate systems are essential elements of a sound fire mitigation plan. Many people have been forced to leave their homes due to fires. The loss of life and damage to personal property has been extreme, and the extensive damage to the environment caused by extensive fires. Fire suppression systems provide a realistic chance for those devastated by the blazes to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
A good fire mitigation plan should address the prevention of larger fires and address smaller, contained fires. A homeowner can help prevent fires by ensuring proper and sufficient fire protection equipment on a property. In addition to having a sufficient amount of dead tree foliage on a property, a homeowner should also have a sufficient amount of dead plant life.
Finally, a good fire mitigation plan should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the property owner is still complying with the necessary regulations regarding vegetation management. It is illegal to burn more vegetation than is necessary under the federal Burn Control Act. Some of the U.S. Forest Service implements regulations that deal specifically with preventing wildfires and other large fires. Many of these laws are included in the master plans prepared by the State Office of Rural Fire Science and Policy. This means that if a homeowner is thinking about purchasing or building a home, they should find a local fire science agency in that state to help them create a plan for managing wildfire risks.