February 19, 2021- The Teton County Board of County Commissioners voted on February 16, to implement new regulations which will prohibit wood roofing for new residential construction in the county's Wildland Urban Interface areas (WUI), beginning on March 1, 2021.
In advance of this decision, stakeholders of the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS approached the Teton County Commissioners in January 2021 to open public comment proposing to strike fire treated wood shake shingle roof covering from the county adopted International Wildland Urban Interface Code for new construction homes within the mapped wildland urban interface. "Over time, the harsh environmental impacts of this high-altitude climate affect fire retardant treated wood shakes, rendering them less and less fire resistant in time," commented Fire Marshal Kathy Clay. "We will be able to build a more fire resilient community by using weather resistant roofing materials which remain fire resistant for the life of the roof covering."
This new regulation is intended to add greater protection for homes that can be at great risk during wildfires in these fire prone areas of the county. Fire resistant roofing materials can mean the difference between preventing a house fire or losing the entire structure.
Homeowners who live within the mapped wildland urban interface wishing to replace their roof after March 1, 2021, will be required to adhere to the new rule. Clay also reminds homeowners to ensure pine duff and debris are cleared from wood shake roofs and to consider replacing older, weather-worn roofs with more weather-proof, fire resistant materials.
We have all witnessed increasingly dangerous fires that have destroyed homes, and in some instances entire neighborhoods throughout many states and some right here in Wyoming. Teton County is choosing to be as proactive as possible in enacting regulations that will offer the greatest protections to homeowners and firefighters.
"Building a fire resilient community is a many-systems approach. As our climate continues to dry and our fire season extends, working together to reduce risk and improve positive outcomes takes engagement, education, and willingness from every member of this community, “said Clay.
To view the mapped wildland urban interface within Teton County and read the recent County resolution, go to Jackson Hole Fire/EMS website at http://www.tetoncountywy.gov/149/Jackson-Hole-FireEMS-Department