King County is home to spectacular forest lands that provide important recreational, ecological, cultural, and economic benefits to King County residents. However, under the right conditions, these same forests are also vulnerable to wildfire.
The increase in wildfires across the Pacific Northwest, including large wildfires in King County like the Bolt Creek Fire near Skykomish and the Loch Katrine Fire northeast of North Bend in 2022, have heightened awareness that King County communities need to be better prepared for wildfire. Climate change makes this need even more urgent.
Assessing Wildfire Risk and Taking Action to Mitigate It
KCD’s Wildfire Preparedness Program—in collaboration with Washington State Department of Natural Resource (WA DNR), local King County fire districts, and King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (KC DNRP)—aims to make communities in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) less vulnerable to wildfire damage and more resilient to wildfire impacts by providing a range of technical assistance to individual homeowners and communities including providing home wildfire risk assessments, assisting communities with becoming Firewise USA® sites and implementing wildfire mitigation projects.
Wildfire Risk Assessments
KCD offers wildfire risk assessments of individual homes and whole communities/neighborhoods located in the wildland urban interface areas of King County.
Community Enrollment in Firewise USA® Program
In partnership with WA DNR, King Conservation District staff can help organized neighborhoods and communities in King County enroll in the Firewise USA® Program. This national recognition program provides residents with a framework for organizing residents of a community to take collective actions that increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and reduces wildfire risks at the local level. Enrollment in and good standing as a Firewise USA® Site often provides opportunities for communities to access additional financial assistance such as grants and higher cost-share rates.
Wildfire Mitigation Project Planning and Cost-share
To help communities and homeowners implement the actions that will reduce their vulnerability to wildfire igniting homes and other infrastructure, KCD offers wildfire mitigation project planning assistance to homeowners and communities located in wildland urban interface areas of King County. Wildfire mitigation projects—such as installing metal mesh screens on home vents, removing vegetation from within five feet of homes, and installing hardscaping in the five-foot area around homes—planned by KCD staff often qualify for cost-share funding to offset the cost of implementing projects. The first step to accessing KCD cost-share is getting a wildfire risk assessment from KCD staff. To Request a Wildfire Risk Assessment, Click Here.
Your Local Wildfire Preparedness Partner
King Conservation District is an active partner in King County’s Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy. Learn more about this important county wide strategy to reduce wildfire risk in the King County Wildfire Strategy Report.