Residents Near Karney Fire Were Well Prepared For Wildfire

Sep 21, 2012

The Karney Fire has burned more than 400 acres 10 miles northeast of Boise.  Many in the Wilderness Ranch subdivision have been advised to evacuate their homes as the fire gets closer.  Residents there live close to nature, close enough that wildfires are a threat they try to guard against. 

Wilderness Ranch bills itself as the best of both worlds. Mother Nature in the back yard. The city, in this case Boise, a short drive away.  But living in nature means living with the risk of wildfires. 

Carrie Wiss lives in Wilderness Ranch. She's the subdivision's Firewise Program Coordinator.  "Firewise is a homeowner education effort that is trying to teach people who live in the wildland urban interface, which is the little house in the big woods, how to live compatibly with wildfire."

Wilderness Ranch was one of the first firewise communities in the country. It was part of a pilot program back in 2000. Since then, many of the 275 homes in the subdivision, and more houses outside it, have taken Firewise to heart. The goal is to remove brush, dry grass, tree limbs - anything close to a house that could spread fire.

Wiss says that hard work has paid off now that a wildfire has come close.  "I know of one homeowner in particular who has worked with me and done a lot of Firewise work and I talked to him this morning and I said do you think it made a difference and he said absolutely."

Wiss says there was another wildfire two years ago, where four homes were threatened. Each home was part of the Firewise program and all four survived.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio