Friday, October 23, 2015

Idaho Law prof Miller to serve as principal investigator on $240,000 grant to address wildfire's effects on the built environment

I am excited to announce that I will be serving as the principal investigator for a three-year, $240,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to address wildfire effects on the built environment at the wilderness-urban interface.  I have been working on this grant for almost two years, but today is the official day when we really start substantive work on the project.

Wildfire is one of the major effects of climate change in the West, and finding solutions that are amenable to local communities will prove a difficult but exciting challenge utilizing land use planning and building codes.  I will be reporting key updates along the way on the blog.  

Here is the press release: 


Colleges Receive $240,000 Grant to Provide Solutions for Wildfire Hazards 

MOSCOW, Idaho – Oct. 22, 2015 — Wildfire’s threat to homes, property and livelihoods is 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 principal 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 Boise State’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.

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