The Wildland Urban Interface
If you live in Western Montana you very likely live in the Wildland Urban Interface . The WUI (Woo - E) is one of the areas of fastest growth in the American West - and an area that is one of the most expensive and dangerous to fight approaching wildfires.
Naturally occurring wildland fire, though, is an integral part of our fire dependent environment and has many benefits.
The WUI expansion intersects with this natural phenomenon with all its risks and responsibilities. We, as rural landowners, are responsible for mitigating the risk to our property and possessions. By possessions I mean the structure(s) you call home and its contents - those things that you pay to insure. Property, on the other hand is the surrounding environment that you own, and are responsible for stewarding.
This property was logged and graded more than 40 years ago. The current residents have owned it for 30 years.
From a forest health standpoint, it's overstocked and generally unhealthy. These trees are stressed and are a prime candidate for insect attack.
From a wildfire point of view it is EXPLOSIVE!
While it probably would not have resulted in direct flame impingement upon the home, the ember blizzard would have blanketed it, resulting in the probable lose of the home. The forest would no longer exist.
So, what do you need to do?
Well, a bit of reading.
Protecting your possessions means ACTIVELY managing your Home Ignition Zone. Dr. Jack Cohen spent his U.S.F.S. career investigating what causes home to burn and his knowledge is FREE to you. Reading his article entitled Community Destruction During Extreme Wildfires Is A Home Ignition Problem will help you understand the mechanics of home loss - it's probably not what you think. After reading the article please visit the Wildfire Risk to Communities website in order to Understand, Explore, and Reduce your wildfire risk.
Protecting your property involves a different discussion. Fire exclusion, climate changes, weed control, and destructive insect spread are among the myriad of variables that are impacting our landscape. If your goal is to provide good stewardship for your property YOU will have to actively manage it. Reach out to the DNRC Service Foresters, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service for unaffiliated advise.
What sets SE apart?
In short, knowledge, experience and a unique set of tools. I began doing fuel reduction on my own property inside the Stillwater State Forest after the Little Wolf Fire of 1994. Soon after I began contracting with MT DNRC as a wildland engine provider and private fuels reduction contractor. My experience on successful Initial Attack (IA) versus the drawn out project fires reinforced my belief in Dr Cohen's Home Ignition Zone. In our area Defensible Space is largely a misnomer - there aren't enough resources to protect everyone's possessions.
Forest Fuels Reduction
Based on your desired outcome, level of involvement, and current site conditions SE can utilizing one of a variety of implements to modify your forest structure in order to reduce the impacts of a forest fire. The Kaiser machine goes where no other machine can, and excels on steep ground which is typically the domain of hand crews. While I'm not a forester or a logger in the traditional sense, and am happy to collaborate with either or both.
SE walked the property with the landowner to determine viewshed priorities, and determined leave trees by species as well as trees of personal significance. The "spider" capitalizes on it's over 25 feet of reach, and unparalleled adaptation to terrain to minimize damage.
Using a "spider" in conjunction with the forest masticator creates a much healthier forest while minimizing impacts.
Masticating is fast and eliminates pile burning all while retaining captured carbon and adding large woody debris to the forest floor.. Burning is time consuming, constrained by air shed regulations and risky.
The end result left the land owner almost speechless!
"You've given us acres of usable riverfront!"
Portions of this stand were left more heavily stocked and will be commercially harvested in the next few seasons.
Do you have questions? Drop us a note.