The recently released “Guide to Fire Adapted Communities” – created by the Fire Adapted Community Coalition – highlights in its chapter 4, planning and regulatory considerations that can make a difference in a community at risk to wildfire. It also highlights the beneficial role urban planners can play in a Fire Adapted Community and the communication that should occur between local groups.
I've enjoyed learning about this effort from Leigh Kane, senior planner with Horry County, South Carolina, Planning and Zoning Department. She recently shared with me that, “Like other natural hazards, wildfires do not respect political or jurisdictional boundaries. It’s extremely important for local governments to coordinate internally and with neighboring municipalities and state agencies as they develop planning, regulatory, and response strategies to address these potential hazards.”
To advance that beneficial communication, Leigh explained that, “Horry County Planning & Zoning is working with the SC Forestry Commission and the Horry County Fire Department as they develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans for numerous neighborhoods that are seeking their Firewise designation.”
She went onto highlight that, “By doing so, we are learning about the challenges that first responders and residents experience when they are faced with a wildfire. It’s helping our department better understand how our development guidelines influence evacuation efforts and the ability of firefighters to access and combat the wildfire itself.”
Learn more about Fire Adapted Communities and the role urban planners can play in making their community’s safer from wildfire.