Presenters on issues surrounding wildfire risk, land use and regulation came together last week at the Idaho State Capitol Building in Boise to speak on Law, Planning and Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface. Subtitled "the future of government and governance of disaster in the West," the day-long symposium was coordinated by University of Idaho College of Law associate dean and law professor Stephen Miller along with Tyre Holfeltz, Lands Program Manager on Fire Prevention and Risk Mitigation for the Idaho Department of Lands. Stemming from a federal grant received several years ago to address wildfire issues at the community level, the symposium was designed to bring together experts from diverse arenas to open a conversation on the challenges of wildfire risk reduction on private lands.
The presentations ranged from economic trends to post-fire recovery planning to case studies of successful planning activities to the limits of planning approaches - and even telling the story of wildfire and community through art. The day was packed with thoughtful conversation and discussion from multiple perspectives.
The call for papers for this event went out nearly a year ahead of time. Submitters wrote papers that will be published in the Idaho Law Review, including one that I worked on with my colleague Meghan Housewright regarding the impact of absentee landowners and vacant property on WUI risks. For a recording of the full session, visit the Idaho in Session archives page of Idaho Public Television.
Image: screenshot from Idaho Public Television recording on October 19, 2018, showing the panel on the limits of planning for wildfire in the WUI. From left to right, Miranda Mockrin, Research Scientist, US Forest Service Northern Research Station; Meghan Housewright, Director, NFPA Fire and Life Safety Policy Institute; Michele Steinberg, Director, NFPA Wildfire Division.