FIRE MARSHAL TOOL KIT
Wildland Urban Interface Code
WUI Code Amendments for 2021 Code in SBCC
On November 17, 2023, the SBCC proposed amendments to the WUI code that weaken or remove defensible space requirements and ask local jurisdictions to adopt their own map (the DNR map would no longer be referenced). These amendments have a hearing on February 9, 2024.
WSAFM has concerns and provided an official letter to the SBCC. Defensible space is a national best practice and proven code strategy to reduce death and property loss from wildfire. WSAFM feels the SBCC exceptions go too far in Chapter 6, particularly for jurisdictions in the eastern, drier part of the state. In addition, WSAFM is concerned that the SBCC is creating an unfunded mandate for local jurisdictions by removing the DNR map (SBCC amendments to Chapter 3). WSAFM would rather see the DNR map improved with more local flexibility rather than require all local jurisdictions to create and maintain their own maps. WSAFM's official comment is here: WSAFM WUI Position Paper The proposed Draft Language from the SBCC is here: Microsoft Word - Defensible Space Proposal Council Decision Nov 17 (wa.gov) Please contact Dave Kokot with comments or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wildland Urban Interface Maps and RCW Requirements - November 2022 Updates
Because of the high risk of wildland fires in parts of Washington, and the benefit from taking steps to reduce these risks, WSAFM encourages member agencies to start thinking about your agency’s enforcement strategy for wildland urban interface (WUI). This code affects most jurisdictions in Washington, including urban and rural, east and west.
The State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted in November 2022 to adopt the WUI Code in Washington State. The WUI Code will take effect in the state on October 29, 2023, along with the other state codes (this reflects a delay past the original July 1, 2023, date, due to pending litigation). The SBCC accepted the Technical Advisory Group's (TAG's) amendments to the WUI code for the 2021 code cycle. Among other things, the amendments offer more flexible framework based on site and construction specifics as an alternative to the straight requirements in RCW 19.27.560. WSAFM and WABO were both represented in this work.
What should I do to get ready to implement WUI?
WSAFM recommends that fire marshals and their staff become familiar the provisions in RCW 19.27.560 and the anticipated amendments to the WUI code being worked on by the SBCC.