Item: The Urban Avalanche Interface and Community Impacts a Case Study: Ketchum, Sun Valley & the Wood River Valley, Idaho
Title: The Urban Avalanche Interface and Community Impacts a Case Study: Ketchum, Sun Valley & the Wood River Valley, Idaho
Proceedings: Proceedings, 2012 International Snow Science Workshop, Anchorage, Alaska
- Janet K. Kellam [ Former Director Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center, Ketchum, ID ]
Abstract: The reality of dealing with urban development in avalanche terrain can look simple on paper but is challenging and complex in real life. Other factors come into play beyond what is described on avalanche zoning maps. It is not just the home we are trying to protect, but also the lives of those that occupy and service the structure. Increasing population density, more homes built in avalanche terrain and recent avalanche cycles have produced numerous avalanche incidents and management problems throughout the communities of the Wood River Valley. This case study highlights close calls, management efforts and identifies individuals and groups placed at risk during an avalanche event. Other communities may benefit from this knowledge and improve their existing problems or recognize future avalanche issues. Before approval of new development in avalanche terrain local planners need to fully identify all individuals that may be put at risk – these often extend beyond the building’s occupants and may include emergency services, maintenance personnel, neighbors and visitors. In addition, local planners must consider how many locations may be simultaneously affected by avalanche events during large storms. Communities need to have avalanche-educated leaders, decision makers and planners who with the support of avalanche professionals, can accurately identify and understand local avalanche problems. Proactive management strategies can then be developed and applied on a case-by-case basis in order to reduce the increased avalanche risk associated with new development.
Language of Article: English
Keywords: hazard, zoning & planning, urban interface, risk management
Digital Abstract Not Available