Farmington Wildland Urban Interface
- More than 60,000 communities in the United States are at risk for WUI fires. (LINK)
- Between 2002 and 2016, an average of over 3,000 structures were lost to WUI fires each year in the U.S. (LINK)
- The WUI area continues to grow by approximately 2 million acres per year. (LINK)
- Relative to the total houses in the state, New Mexico has between 60.1 - 82.6% of houses in a WUI area. (LINK)
By mapping Farmington's WUI areas, a spatial record has been created to represent areas where structures and other human development coincide with vegetation within and around the boundaries of the city. The Farmington Wildland Urban Interface Map can be used as a tool to help identify fire risks in order to assess and mitigate impacts of development on wildlands and for protecting homes from natural hazards. The map below was put together by the City of Farmington Planning Division with the contribution of several local and federal agencies including the Farmington Fire Department, San Juan County, and the Bureau of Land Management Farmington Field Office. The Farmington WUI map defines wildfire risks as either "low to moderate" and "high", based on a number of factors including structure density and vegetation levels. An additional surface management layer has been added to provide information on land ownership within and around Farmington.
WIU maps can be extremely helpful in tracking changes in wildfire over time. The Wildland-Urban Interface Change Map put together by Silvis Lab through the University of Wisconsin provides insightful data on how WUI areas have grown through the years.
- Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers.
- Replace and/or repair loose or missing shingles and damaged or loose window screens to prevent ember penetration.
- Prevent ember passage through vents in the eaves and attic by installing 1/8 inch metal mesh screening.
- Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors- mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles- anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches. Keep flammable debris a minimum of 50 feet from the house, preferably on the uphill side.
- Choose fire resistant building materials whenever possible.
- Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter and debris.
- Remove dead plant and tree material.
- Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area.
- Thin trees so that trees 30-60 feet from the home have at least 12 feet between canopy tops and trees 60-100 feet from the home have at least 6 feet between the canopy tops.
- They grow without accumulating large amounts of combustible dead branches, needles, or leaves.
- They have low sap or resin content.
- They grow slowly and need little maintenance.
- They are short and grow close to the ground.
Additional tips to follow when planning a Fire Wise landscape include:
- Landscape according to the recommended defensible space zones. Plants nearest your home should be more widely spaced and smaller than those farther away.
- Plant in small, irregular clusters and islands, not in large masses.
- Break up the continuity of the vegetation (fuel) with decorative rock, gravel, and stepping stone pathways. This will help modify fire behavior and slow its spread across your property.
- In the event of drought and water rationing, prioritize the plants you wish to save. Provide supplemental water to those nearest your home.
- The homes landscape and the plants in it must be maintained to retain their FIREWISE properties.
WILDLAND INTERFACE TRAINING AND RESOURCES
Reducing Wildfire Risk to People and Property - NFPA Free Online Training and Risk Simulator
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides free online training and an augmented reality (AR) risk simulator to protect against wildfire and learn steps to help reduce your risk. Find out more HERE
Explore additional resources (training, research, and information) to help prepare for a safe wildland fire response and to create and sustain a fire-adapted community HERE