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Beaver Creek Fire Renews Push For Homeowner Vigilance

InciWeb. Fire crews clear out vegetation near buildings around the Greenhorn Guard Station in Blaine County, Idaho.

The fire raging near Sun Valley, Idaho, is serving as a wake-up call for homeowners in fire-prone areas across the Northwest. The 106,000-acre Beaver Creek Fire has burned one house.

And fire managers say it’s lucky they didn't lose more.

Steven Garman lives outside of Ketchum, Idaho. He's a retired firefighter. Garman says like many homes in the area, his house was not designed to be fire resistant.

“Sadly, I have an old cedar shake roof, which is the reason I'm here with sprinklers on it," he says. "But, I would never put another shake roof on. But yeah – this will bring that to light. People will change, people will landscape differently. Either that or they’re going to lose their houses. This fire is not unique and we'll have more of them.”

The fire chief of Ketchum this week told residents, “shingles have got to go.” He's asking people who live in canyons outside the city to do a better job clearing trees and brush around their houses.

Headwaters Economics, a nonpartisan think tank in Montana, estimates there are nearly 2 million homes in what's known as the “wildland urban interface” across the West. Fifteen percent of those are second homes.

On the Web:

Interactive: Development and Wildfire Costs - Headwaters Economics