These Western Counties exhibit a high percent of federal ownership and have a mixed forested landscape. These areas are very rural with low population density; they have few roads, and very flammable vegetation. These counties include sparsely populated areas north of Spokane, WA and northwest of Missoula MT; the southeast Utah Tribal Lands; central Colorado USDA Forest Service lands mixed with old mining towns; and a mix of landscapes and federal ownership near Socorro, NM.

These areas may be good candidates for wildland fire use and increased targeted prescribed fire. There is a greater than average number of homes exposed near large tracts of federal ownership, so buffers that are funded by state and federal funds will be required.

Example of a Typical County — Sagauche County, Colorado: This county includes the Rio Grande national Forest and BLM lands. It has experienced few large wildfires in the last decade.

National Priorities

Vegetation and Fuels High
Homes, Communities and Values at Risk High
Human-Caused Ignitions Very Low
Effective and Efficient Response:
There is high risk of large wildfires, more potential for resource benefits.

Policy Options and Opportunities

Vegetation and Fuels
These counties may have contiguous areas that could benefit from the use of landscape-scale prescribed fire. Strategic fuel breaks may be warranted. There may be limited areas within these counties where wildfire could be considered for restoring landscapes, but planners could be aware of the conflicts with communities. Mechanical treatments are an option, but with limited forest products industries nearby, this approach may not be cost effective.

Homes, Communities and Values at Risk
Communities can plan and take coordinated action, in combination with individual actions by property owners. This can include the creation of buffers and strategic fuel breaks. These counties could adjust building and construction codes in non-municipal areas.

Human-Caused Ignitions
Human caused ignitions are not as great here as in other parts of the country, but may deserve attention if a local situation dictates.

Effective and Efficient Wildfire Response
Prepare for large, long duration wildfires.

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