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Feds: Forest communities should adapt to wildfires

Cougar Fire 3Forest-dwelling communities in the West have to do a better job at making their homes resistant to wildfires so that wildland firefighters can better defend those homes and surrounding forests.

Federal, state and local officials meeting in Boise Nov. 5 said that is one lesson learned following one of Idaho’s worst fire seasons with more than 1,300 fires and some 1,200 square miles burned.

About 30 officials also considered other aspects of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy approved in April 2014. That includes firefighter response and making landscapes resilient to fire.

Intermountain Region Forester Nora Rasure of the U.S. Forest Service said protecting life and property is a top priority. But she said that can leave forests that are surrounding communities vulnerable when firefighting resources are tied up protecting homes.

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