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UI to Lead $240,000 Grant Project to Provide Solutions for Wildfire Hazards

October 23, 2015

Wildfire threats to homes, property and livelihoods are growing rapidly as urbanized areas in Idaho develop into the wildland-urban interface (WUI). University of Idaho faculty members will contribute to wildfire hazard planning in the WUI with a $240,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Landscape Scale Restoration Project and the Idaho Department of Lands.

Two UI faculty members – College of Law associate professor Stephen R. Miller and College of Art & Architecture professor Jaap Vos – will serve as principle investigators on the three-year grant. They will work in collaboration with Eric Lindquist, director of the Boise State University School of Public Service’s Public Policy Research Center, and Thomas Wuerzer, an associate professor at BSU’s Department of City and Regional Planning.

“This interdisciplinary collaboration brings together faculty from four departments across two universities to work with the Idaho Department of Lands in addressing an ever-growing hazard risk for the state,” Miller said. “This collaboration of law, planning and social science will first help us understand local wildfire preparation throughout the state and then help local communities choose wildfire strategies that are right for them.”

The project has four major components over three years:

  • Project members will conduct a comprehensive survey and review of adopted and proposed national and Idaho statutes, rules, ordinances and policies related to wildfire in the wildland-urban interface.

  • Project members will distribute two risk-perception surveys, reaching approximately 40,000 households total. In addition, they will interview people who live in areas identified as a priority in the Idaho Forest Action Plan.

  • The survey and detailed legal research will lead to a Wildfire Risk Planning Guide, scaled to fit local needs, to help local land-use planning efforts.

  • Project members will design and conduct at least 12 no-cost, one-day, interactive workshops for volunteer and professional firefighters, planning directors, county and city administrators, and other interested parties in rural communities with the highest need.

Contacts
Cindy Hollenbeck
Marketing Manager
University of Idaho College of Law
cynthiah@uidaho.edu
208-885-71154

Stephen R. Miller
Associate Professor
University of Idaho College of Law
millers@uidaho.edu
208-364-4559

Jaap Vos
Professor
University of Idaho College of Art and Architecture
jvos@uidaho.edu

Eric Lindquist
Associate Professor
Director, Boise State University School of Public Service
ericlindquist@boisestate.edu
208-426-3770

Tyre Holfeltz
Idaho Department of Lands
tholfeltz@idl.idaho.gov
208-666-8653

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu