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Avimor subdivision project aims to protect homes from wildfires

The Eagle Fire Department earned a $43,000 grant to fund a fuel break for the isolated community.

An Eagle subdivision with a heightened risk for wildfires just got an extra line of defense.

The Eagle Fire Department is building a 5-mile long, 30-foot wide fuel break in the Avimor community.

Last July, a grass fire burned about 200 acres right across from the Avimor subdivision, on the other side of Highway 55.

“All the residents were out on the street and hilltop and watching the fire but it wasn’t far away,” recalls Dan Richter with the Avimor Development Group.

Eagle Fire Chief Rusty Coffelt says the department is able to build the barrier because of a $43,000 grant from the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation Development Council.

“We removed the highly flammable grasses and sage and we are replacing it with a plant called Forage Kochia,” Coffelt said, pointing to the fuel line.

Forage Kochia is most green at the height of summer when other grasses and plants are usually brown and dead.

“Forage Kochia has a high moisture content so it stops fire spread,” Coffelt said. “It’s a fire tolerant plant and because of its long tap root it actually absorbs all the moisture in the area so it chokes out the grasses and stuff that try and compete with it.”

Because Avimor is somewhat isolated, the fuel break will give fire crews a head start.

“Because of the subdivision being so far out in the northern end of the fire district, our response times getting out here are a little bit longer so having a fire break like this in place lets our fire crews know that it buys them a little bit of time,” Coffelt said.

The Forage Kochia will sprout by next spring but will take a few years to become fully grown in.

“It’s another layer of protection,” Richter said.

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