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Fire risk assessment plan for Park City is underway

Park City is working on a Community Wildfire Risk Assessment for the area to mitigate future wildfire damage.

Park City Municipal is crafting a wildfire risk assessment plan for the community. The public can get details about it on Wednesday. 

Wildfires are on the rise and so are the plans to deal with them. While Park City has a wildfire preparedness plan, the next step is to assess the risk in the area. That plan is in the works and is called the Community Wildfire Risk Assessment, or CWRA.

Heinrich Deters is the trails and open space manager for Park City. He says a CWRA is a critical component in mitigating wildfire damage.

“This sort of drills down into and looks at our community and the real moving pieces, the metrics that associate, you know, what we need to address, whether it's like an enforcement aspect, the ecological aspects, and the prioritization and funding aspects of all things wildfire in the community.”

When the plan is complete it will be a road map of sorts for the city to use as it sets priorities and budgets for wildfire prevention, safety and impacts.

To understand what goes into a wildfire assessment plan for the community, Park City Municipal is hosting an open house on July 20th from 6-8pm. Deters says it’s the start of a year-long project and the first of many meetings to be held for the public.

“And that's one of the main focuses of this study is to actually move that needle put this on people's radar put this on an HOA agenda where they can like budget for defensible space," he said. "I mean, it's straightforward. It's very practical work, applying the science to this so we get it right. But then just creating the awareness that people can do some of this mitigation work, I think is really important.”

David Telian owns Alpine Forestry, a company that specializes in creating defensible space against wildfires. His company is a partner with Park City in the risk assessment plan. He says several factors go into building what are called risk maps.

“A few factors that we consider are terrain, and exposure and predominant winds, but then also just the health of the forest, and how we expect a fire to move through those areas," he said. "Splashed in all of that is the wildland urban interface. And so we have a number of values here that are important to our community infrastructure, they're important to our, our tourism economy, there's natural resources that are important to, you know, the ecological aspects of this area.”

The risk assessment plan has a budget of $250,000 and is expected to be finished next summer.

For more information on the CWRA go to https://engageparkcity.org/