Projects

FireSmart

Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management

Wildfire is a natural component of North Idaho’s forested ecosystems and in fact is often beneficial; however, it can be a dangerous and costly issue for homeowners. In 2015, Idaho fires burned 75,000 acres at a cost of around $80 million dollars to tax payers with $60 million of that total coming from state appropriations.

To help mitigate some of this cost locally, as well as help homeowners prepare for wildfire, the Kootenai County FireSmart Program provides education and financial  assistance through federal grants to residents of the county. As part of ongoing education efforts, Kootenai County’s FireSmart program, in cooperation with the University of Idaho’s Extension Program, will offer classes to local homeowners on the topics of “Fire in the Wildland Urban Interface”, “Effective Pruning and Reducing Ladder Fuels”, “Fuel Treatment Maintenance”, “Landscaping for Fire Prevention”, “Vegetation Removal to Modify Fire Behavior” and “Maintaining Defensible Space.”

Homeowners’ desiring assistance with mitigation of vegetation around their property is offered as a free property review. This will specifically identify what actions to take to prepare their home and property for wildfire. Funding is currently available for defined areas of the county and, contingent upon a property owner’s approval,  properties that are reviewed and found to qualify for financial assistance will be eligible for mitigation actions to be completed by FireSmart contracted services. Upon completion of that work, homeowners agree to provide the necessary means to maintain the project for a period of 10 years.

If you wish to have information on University of Idaho’s Extension classes or if you have general questions about the FireSmart program and wish to have an assessment, contact Kimberly at 208-446-1616 or by email to khobson@kcgov.us.

Kimberly Hobson, Program Specialist
Kootenai County, Grants Management Office