City Government

Cali Fires Spark Idaho Concerns

Fire fighting pros call it the “Urban wilderness interface,” but for us Idaho folk, it boils down to “the foothills or the Boise Front.”

In California similar properties are called ASH.

Apart from the devastation in Ventura county and the terrible tragedy faced by so many people, there is an object lesson for those of us living in the Treasure Valley: despite the spectacular views and proximity to the wildlife, DON’T BUILD IN THE FOOTHILLS.

Recent fires in California serve as an anti-growth example of foolhardy development opposed by level headed Idaho growthophobes.

Local governments in Boise, Eagle, and Ada County are all faced with approving requests for developments subject to wildfire. Houses along Bogus Basin road create an unfair financial burden on both the Boise Fire Department and the citizens who fund that department.

BFD contracts with the North Ada Fire District to provide fire protection all the way to the county line. Every alarm is answered by a disproportionate number of apparatus and fire fighters due to the lack of water. Running up and down hills at break neck speed is tough on the rigs as well as the personnel. Every lightning storm and errant firework is cause for concern.

Avimor off highway 55 and the M3 development north of Eagle create similar dangers. Commishes and Councilors owe it to all of us to curtail their headlong dash to outgrow each other. They stoke the flames of growthophobes who oppose growth for the sake of growth.

We have seen McMansions beginning to slide down the east Boise slopes, its only a matter of time until we copy Cali and burn the beautiful Idaho hillside structures.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. 1. Perhaps its time to remove the fire departments from the property tax roles and charge each property owner a fee based on the cost of protecting that property. 2. Failing that, how about a surcharge for properties that abut fire-prone areas. 3. We must have more personnel and equipment than we need anyway. I note that we sent people and equipment to California. Surely they aren’t leaving us with less protection.

  2. Interesting that you would invoke Kali, the black tongue of the seven flickering tongues of Agni, the Hindu god of fire, in your intended reference to California. As a 30-year resident of one of the oldest foothills developments and a strong advocate for careful planning of further “improvements,” I appreciate your concerns about fires in the “urban/wildlands interface.”
    There are of course ways to landscape properties and design their structures so as to virtually eliminate fire risk. Perhaps these should be written into foothills building ordinances. The city is actively engaging foothills neighborhoods in the “fire wise” effort.
    Thankfully, we do not yet have the sustained, hot, dry Santa Anna winds here. Global warming may change that.

    EDITOR NOTE–I agree with your sentiments. I actually photographed an entire chapter of the Fire Wise book over in Bend, OR. While xeriscaping and other efforts can reduce the risks of fire, older developments and flammable materials abound.

  3. It's a business
    Dec 12, 2017, 8:25 am

    Firefighting is big business. Huge profits and payrolls. Surely you don’t expect they will do anything to change that fact.

  4. Boisecitizen
    Dec 12, 2017, 4:51 pm

    I just love when the foothills developers put evergreen trees in and around the new houses. Ensuring that when the fire comes, and it will eventually, lots of fuel to spread the fire.

  5. Go Doug Jones
    Dec 13, 2017, 7:01 pm

    It would be better fitting to have the older areas of town try to fight a raging fire. Kaboom go the meth labs, the garages full of debris, and the overgrowth – all fully under the control and regulation of the Boise city code for the safety, health and welfare of the residents.


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