Colorado's latest bout with devastating wildfires is another opportunity to ask some sobering questions about how and whether we should build communities in forested areas going forward and what the true costs are of living in the wildland-urban interface also known as the WUI.
Gov. John Hickenlooper's Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health is now considering a number of recommendations for communities in the WUI. These include tougher building codes to ensure homes and the spaces around them are defensible from fires, designating homes at risk of wildfires prior to sales and allowing more controlled burns to improve forest health and mitigate fire risks.
These are worthy ideas, but there are some more controversial suggestions the task force is considering that need a full airing as well. Among these is assessing a fee on homes in the WUI to help offset the special costs of fighting fires in these areas.