Podcast: Resilience Roundtable

We Need to Outthink Wildfire, Not Try to Eliminate It

With an unprecedented season of wildfires barely in our rearview mirror, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) veteran Michele Steinberg comes on the Resilience Roundtable podcast series to talk about wildfire mitigation and prevention. Her conversation with host Jim Schwab, FAICP, revolves around the NFPA’s newest policy initiative, Outthink Wildfire.

“We’re not trying to eliminate wildfire. … What we’re trying to eliminate is these disasters where hundreds and thousands of homes go down at the same time.” —Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director, National Fire Protection Association

She explains the five tenets that Outthink Wildfire sets forth for policymakers and the public, which include mitigating risk to existing structures and enacting the most up-to-date land-use policies for new development. The two discuss the term “wildland-urban interface,” or WUI, which Michele demystifies for those unfamiliar with it. They talk about why it’s so important for homes and businesses in the WUI to be ignition resistant, as well as why we’ve been collectively falling short in meeting this objective. When it comes to public engagement, Michele says that residents need to be vocal in their support of these policies, and she cites examples of places where engagement and knowledge of the issues are high.

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