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Cave Bay

Cave BayCave Bay is located 35 miles south of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho on the southeast shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene. The community is made up of 220 properties situated in a dense, mixed conifer forest typical of northern Idaho. It is at risk from wildland fire because closely-spaced homes are built on steep terrain among dense, mature stands of timber and brush. Most of Cave Bay's landowners are seasonal residents. The Cave Bay Community Association is responsible for managing the maintenance of the community's infrastructure, including roads and a water system. The Worley Volunteer Fire Protection District maintains a two-engine station in Cave Bay.

Cave BayFirewise Communities became involved with Cave Bay in 2003 when a landowner was contacted by the Idaho Department of Lands and the Kootenai County FireSmart Program to inform him about funds available for the reduction of hazardous fuels in Cave Bay. The FireSmart Program also contacted the Coeur d'Alene Tribe about creating a 100 foot fuel break between Tribal land and the private lands of Cave Bay. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe agreed to participate by permitting the construction of the fuel break on the Tribal lands, developing treatment plans, providing funding from the National Fire Plan, and performing treatment work throughout the community.

Cave BayThe Cave Bay Community Association was instrumental in contacting homeowners with mailed surveys to determine interest in the project. The Cave Bay landowners contributed to the success of the program by attending public meetings, participating individually, and maintaining treatment work. Landowners signed a contract for the reduction of hazardous brush and trees on their lots and in the forest surrounding the community in accordance with Firewise recommendations. The contract stipulated that landowners would commit to maintaining the initial fuel reduction, as performed on their properties that were funded through the County and Tribe, for ten years. Over 85 percent of the Cave Bay landowners participated and approximately 95 percent of the land in the community underwent fuel reduction.

Cave BayA Student Conservation Association (SCA) team of interns assisted in the Cave Bay recognition ceremony during the annual Cave Bay Community Association meeting in September 2006. The SCA team subsequently went door-to-door, as a reminder to landowners to maintain the completed fuels reduction work. The interns also assisted the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Geographic Information Systems Program by assessing the wildland fire risk of structures in Cave Bay.

Because several organizations and many individuals were able to work together, Cave Bay was able to significantly reduce the risk of wildland fire and become nationally recognized as a Firewise Community/USA site.