Washington,DC- Wenatchee’s Director of Community Development was in Washington DC Thursday to testify before a US Senate Committee. Steve King was invited by ranking committee member, Senator Maria Cantwell to participate in a hearing on the topic of wildfires and how the use of better technology can improve the way fires are fought and prevented.
King explained how he’s created wildfire risk maps to change city codes for development in wildland urban interface areas.
“Risk mapping lets you simulate a disaster without actually having to go through the disaster. It informs us of how to implement our codes, our wildland-urban interface codes. It tells us the effectiveness of our risk reduction strategies such as vegetation management. It provides us information on how to protect critical infrastructure like water systems and communications systems and then the technology is changing and will continue to change. For example, there’s a lot of study on (wildfire) ember transport especially from structures and, so risk mapping ultimately will incorporate that new science and technology as that becomes available.”
He said after developing a risk map for the areas around Wenatchee following the 2015 Sleepy Hollow Fire local fire agencies are now working on a comprehensive risk map for Chelan County. King’s testimony was in support of an effort by Senator Cantwell to pass legislation to give firefighters access to new technology.