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San Juan County plans to assess wildfire risk

Working in conjunction with San Juan County, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched the process of developing a county-level wildland fire risk assessment. Local agencies and organizations in San Juan County have initiated a planning committee to complete the risk assessment as the first step in the ultimate development of a San Juan County Wildfire Protection Plan as part of the National Fire Plan and Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

The San Juan County Wildland Fire Risk Assessment will include risk analyses with predictive models indicating where fires are likely to ignite and how they may impact local communities and the environment.

Northwest Management, Inc. has been retained by the Bureau of Land Management to facilitate meetings, conduct field inspections and interviews, develop vulnerability assessments, and collaborate with the committee to delineate mitigation projects.

The planning committee includes representatives from local fire districts, San Juan County, Washington Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, private landowners, and others.

The intention of the project is to conduct an assessment of wildland fire risk in San Juan County and the local communities, then make mitigation recommendations that will not only help prevent wildfire ignitions from occurring, but will also guide decision-makers towards creating a more fire-resistant San Juan County and provide for public wildfire education.

Some of the goals of this project are to improve awareness of wildland fire issues locally, identify high fire risk areas and develop strategies to reduce this risk, and improve accessibility of funding assistance to achieve these goals.

The planning committee will be conducting public meetings to discuss preliminary findings and to seek public involvement in the planning process in the spring of 2012. A notice of the dates and locations of these meetings will be posted in local news outlets.

For more information on the San Juan County Wildland Fire Risk Assessment or if you’re interested in participating on the planning committee, please contact Tera King, Northwest Management, Inc., at  or Richard Parrish, Bureau of Land Management, at 509-536-1226.

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