By the numbers.
The proof is in the pavement: Gallatin County residents are invading the wildlands surrounding Bozeman. Or rather, Gallatin County residences—about one in three new homes encroaching on this once-natural landscape is someone’s second home. This trend has several potential outcomes, one of which is increased risk of property damage due to wildfire. It also means that more money will be pulled from recreation budgets in order to fight said fires, but who and what is the Forest Service fighting for? A deeper look into the numbers reveals some troubling conclusions.
42,389: Homes in Gallatin County
2,237: Homes in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI)
684: Second homes in the WUI
30.6: Percentage of homes in WUI that are second homes, Gallatin County
15.1: Percentage of homes in WUI that are second homes, entire western U.S.
73: Gallatin County’s percentile ranking for wildfire risk (entire western U.S.)
88: Gallatin County’s percentile ranking for potential future wildfire risk
*All numbers taken from “A Profile of Development and the Wildland-Urban Interface” by Headwaters Economics, April 25, 2017.