!http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0191032e942f970c-250wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0191032e942f970c-250wi|alt=13|style=width: 250px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=13|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef0191032e942f970c!At today’s NFPA Conference & Expo in Chicago, presenters Brett Lacey and Christina Randall of the Colorado Spring Fire Department, discussed lessons learned from the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire and its impact on the Colorado Springs Community. The session looked at not only wildfire conditions but the building features and social aspects that contributed to losses and success stories.
Related: The Fire Adapted Communities Coalition (FAC) is a group of partners committed to helping people and communities in the wildland urban interface adapt to living with wildfire and reduce their risk for damage, without compromising firefighter or civilian safety.
The report, Lessons from Waldo Canyon, from the FAC features interviews and tours of the city’s most affected neighborhoods.  Several major findings are outlined below:
- Fire spreading from home-to-home was again a major issue, as has been the case in previous wildfires, which caused a relatively large number of home losses.
- While it is important to harden a building with noncombustible materials to make it more resistant to wildfire, it also is necessary to incorporate appropriate construction details.
- Community leaders must recognize the value of community-wide collaboration, which is an essential component to home survival and to the creation of fire adapted communities.
According to Pam Leschak, FAC program manager for the USDA Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management, “The mitigation tools used by the Colorado Springs Fire Marshal’s Wildfire Mitigation Section for the last 10 years mirrored, to a large extent, the recommendations of the Fire Adapted Communities program. The findings of the report conclude that the damage to the city as a result of the Waldo Canyon Fire would have been far more wide-spread if these practices weren’t put into place.”
Watch the companion video “Creating Fire Adapted Communities: A Case Study from Colorado Springs and the Waldo Canyon Fire”.
- by NFPA's Kim Bianchini