Samantha Solano Camille Barchers Robert Ryan
Destructive wildfires have increased exponentially in number, size, and economic damages over the past four decades (Buechi et al., 2021). Since the 1990’s, the average duration of wildfire season and spatial extent of at-risk landscapes have both grown substantially, posing greater environmental risk for populations throughout the western United States (Balch et al., 2016). Within the Colorado Front Range, wildfire risk is also expanding into new terrian as threats grows in suburban grassland landscapes (Brasch, 2022). Recent wildfire mitigation plans developed by foresters, fire planners, local area planners, and landscape architects are inventoried to study emerging wildfire buffer approaches for community-scale risk reduction. Thus far, such landscape strategies have been focused on forested lands, leaving a need for adapting and innovating risk reduction techniques to grassland contexts. This master project explores the development of fuel management-driven design approaches for wildfire risk reduction in grassland landscapes using a greenbelt buffer landscape planning mechanism. The community of Ken Caryl Ranch located within the ecoregion transition from Rocky Mountain foothills to high plains is selected as the site of investigation for the study. A landscape typologies approach is employed to develop design recommendations within four land use types common to the area: grasslands, shrublands, riparian corridors, and new suburban developments.