Protecting Your Property From Wildfires
Teton Village is classified as a Wildland Urban Interface, defined by the USFS as “a group of home and other structures with basic infrastructure and services within or adjacent to federal land is defined as an ‘at-risk’ community.”
For additional information and resources about living within the Wildland Urban Interface, please visit the NFPA Firewise USA and Ready-Set-Go websites. You can also visit Teton Interagency Fire for up-to-date information on fire reports and restrictions in Teton County, the state of Wyoming, and across the United States.
Factors That Affect Wildfires
- Conifer – Volatile and prone to torching and crown fires
- Sage/Grass – Dry quickly and prone to rapid fire spread. Wet weather means ample grass to burn later in summer and fall.
- Mixed – These fuel types together can lead to a high probability of crown fires and possibly two fire fronts: surface and crown fire in the canopy.
(Which of these fuels surround your home? Do you have defensible space around your home?)
- Lightning – Lighting, over humans, is the predominant cause of wildland fires in the Rocky Mountains, according to NASA.
- Wind – No matter the fuel or topography, wind determines the direction and speed a fire will travel.
(Which direction are the predominant winds near your home?)
- Slope – The steeper the slope, the faster a wildfire will spread uphill.
(Does your home sit on a hill or slope?)
Defensible Space Pays Off!
Most who live in Teton Village consider the trees and vegetation around their homes a valuable asset, contributing to its privacy and beauty. However, it is important to remember that forested areas may become hazardous during fire season. The minimum amount of defensible space required by the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code is 30 feet, and “is measured from the closest perimeter or projection of your structure to the lot lines or property boundary.” Residents may reduce their risk and improve the defensible space surrounding their home by following a few simple tips:
- Regularly mow and irrigate vegetation around your home. Healthy native plants are less fire-prone.
- Continue to keep trees and shrubs pruned and limbed, with the lowest limbs should be 6-10 feet off the ground.
- Remove the dead and dying vegetation within your space.
- Store firewood 30 feet from structures during fire season.
- Clean roof surfaces and gutters of needle cast, leaf litter, and branches.
- Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney and stovepipe.
- Keep a ladder, rake, and garden hose nearby and accessible … just in case!
- Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.
Visit Teton County’s Wildland Urban Interface Information page to learn more about how you can protect your property.