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Casper Mountain

Casper, WYLocated in central Wyoming, 10 miles south of the city of Casper, Casper Mountain is an important recreational area situated amid approximately 34,000 acres of wildland. The community consists of about 850 structures, most of which are seasonal cabins, along with a few ranches and a fair number of underdeveloped land parcels. The community began its mitigation efforts in 1998 and served as a pilot program for Wyoming when Firewise was introduced in 2001.

In 2012, The Sheep Herder Hill Fire burned more than 1,500 acres over 11 days, destroying 37 homes and 23 other structures in all. Among those whose homes were in the fire’s path, there were 11 seasonal homeowners who had created defensible space around their cabins. Only three of these homes were among the 37 destroyed by the fire.

Casper, WYSam Weaver, Natrona County wildfire mitigation coordinator says that as a result of the Sheep Herder Hill Fire he’s noticed a high interest among homeowners in pursuing defensible space for their properties (other than those seeking building permits) although new land-owners have shown more interest than old-timers. Natrona County has an ordinance that requires defensible space be part of a building plan before anyone can get a permit for new construction or remodeling, which Weaver says, “Has been very successful.”

Casper, WYA bigger challenge has been reaching out to landowners about the importance of fire rehabilitation. This can include addressing erosion issues cause by burned land, noxious weeds and thinning trees and foliage to create fuel breaks. To combat this, Weaver, the Wyoming State Forestry Division, and others have offered evening workshops on how to mitigate property. All of Casper Mountain’s homeowners and landowners are also sent a newsletter twice a year.

With its long history of wildland mitigation, Casper Mountain serves as a shining example of continuing momentum, and how doing so in the aftermath of a wildfire event can help make a community even safer.

Read the entire story about Casper Mountain, Wyoming in the Fall 2013 Firewise “How To” newsletter.