The mansion near Table Rock in the Wild Horse sub is outside the city and is in fact outside ANY fire protection districts–something insurance carriers for the 18 homes probably were not aware of. Insurance underwriters rate fire departments on a scale of 1-10. Boise FD is a very respectable class 3. No fire department coverage is a class 10.
Following the blaze and resulting fight between the property owner and the city, homeowners are testing the waters about organizing their own fire district with hopes of getting either a contract deal or “mutual aid” from Boise.
Chief Dennis Doan has dug in his heels and says “no way” without water mains, hydrants, and adequate streets. He rightly notes the subdivision should never have been allowed. We have to agree with the chief on this one. Same holds true for the houses on Bogus Basin Road and quite a few others in fringe areas.
These homes in the “Urban-Wilderness interface” are high risk and get an inordinant amount of expensive fire protection through various contract and mutual aid deals between fire departments and the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM devotes tons of air tankers, bulldozers, helicopters, and specialized ground attack engines to protecting the Boise Foothills and other areas subject to wildfire that are not necessarily federal land…money seldom changes hands when they respond.
These “exposures” as firefighters like to call them ( news reports always say, “structures are threatened”) present a major problem. Once in place, the owners expect to get fire protection–regardless of how little they pay for it. In many cases homeowners on what are often upscale lots with spectacular views are there to get out of the busy city and high tax rates, but they get the benefits of big city and Federal fire protection–all for a fraction of what it costs to provide.
CONCLUSION: Don’t allow construction in fringe areas. If people choose to live in the high risk area, they need to be prepared to suffer the loss.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.