Report calls on the state to adopt new codes to make homes more wildfire resiliant
A new report is calling on the state to adopt new building codes that would make homes and communities more resilient to wildfires.
Headwaters Economics released the report Wednesday, calling on the state to fully adopt the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code. Headwaters Associate Director Kelly Pohl spoke on the subject.
“Right now, communities aren’t allowed to adopt their own local codes that could make them safer,” Pohl said.
Current state law allows municipalities and counties to use zoning rules to dictate where structures can be built, but local communities can’t adopt rules requiring that more fire-resistant materials or building techniques be used for new home construction.
Pohl said state lawmakers should adopt baseline standards to increase the number of fire resilient homes and communities should also be allowed to adopt additional standards if they choose to.
She adds that new homes are increasingly being built in fire-prone areas, and 120,000 Montana homes are currently in areas considered to be at high or moderate risk for wildfire.