Wildfire season is right around the corner and the Pocatello Fire Department is offering residents a bit of help to make their homes more resistant to one of nature’s most destructive forces.
This spring, the Fire Department is debuting its “Junk the Juniper” fuel reduction program. The effort incentivizes residents living in the Wildland Urban Interface areas of Pocatello to replace juniper trees on their property. For every two junipers residents remove on their property, the department will give them a voucher worth $50 towards the purchase of a firewise tree at Changing Seasons Nursery, a coupon from Changing Seasons to take 20 percent off the purchase the firewise tree, and a free pass to the Bannock County Landfill to dispose of the juniper trees.
“Unlike other natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes, there are simple and often inexpensive ways to protect your home from wildfire,” said Kim Stouse, Community Relations/Education Specialist. “According to fire science research, it’s not where a home is located that necessarily determines ignition risk, but the landscape around it. When fuels accumulate, they allow fires to burn hotter, faster and with higher flame lengths.”
To participate in the program, residents are asked to contact the department’s Fire Prevention Division at 208-234-7083. Department staff will then come to the property, verify that the property is within the Wildland Urban Interface, and mark the trees that will be removed. Once the trees are removed, staff will return to the property, verify the trees have been removed, and provide the resident with the incentives. The program is being funded through a $14,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, Idaho experienced 630 wildfires that consumed 361,649 acres in 2016.
For more information on the “Junk the Juniper” program, call the Pocatello Fire Department Fire Prevention Division at 208-234-7083.
For a list of firewise plants, visit uidaho.edu/~/media/Files/Extension/Forestry/Fire/WUI/FireProtectBro2010_final.