JACKSON, Wyo. The Teton County Board of County Commissioners voted on February 16 to implement new regulations that will ban wooden roofs for new residential construction in the county’s urban boundaries from March 1, 2021.
After the 1988 Yellowstone fires, a group of fire managers began investigating the fire in the countryside. Mapping of the interface between forest areas and homes known as the urban wildland interface, formation of the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition, and creation of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. In 2008, as new designs penetrated the interface areas, codes were passed for refractory designs in these higher hazard fire areas that allow the structure’s ignition resistance to be adjusted in relation to the fire severity of the area.
Prior to the February 16 vote, stakeholders from the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition and Jackson Hole Fire / EMS reached out to the Teton County Commissioners in January 2021 to issue a public statement proposing a fire-treated wood shingle roof covering of the by The county passed the International Strike Wildland Urban Interface Code for new build homes within the mapped Wildland Urban Interface.
“Over time, the harsh environmental impacts of this high altitude climate will affect wood shakes treated with fire retardants, making them less and less fireproof over time,” commented Firefighter Kathy Clay. “By using weatherproof roofing materials that will remain fireproof throughout the life of the roofing, we can build a fireproof community.”
This new regulation aims to provide better protection for houses that could be exposed to high risk in the event of forest fires in these fire-prone areas of the district. Fireproof roofing materials can mean the difference between preventing a house fire or losing the entire structure.
Homeowners living within the mapped urban boundary and looking to replace their roof after March 1, 2021 will need to adhere to the new rule. Clay also reminds homeowners to ensure that pine sacks and debris are removed from wooden shaking roofs, and to replace older, weatherproof roofs with weatherproof, fireproof materials.
“Building a fireproof community is a multi-system approach. As our climate continues to dry up and our fire season lengthens, working together to reduce risk and improve positive outcomes requires commitment, education and willingness from every member of this community, ”said Clay.