Preventing Wildfires

Can better forest management solve the problem?


Western wildfires are becoming larger, hotter and more frequent, and the fire season is lasting longer than ever before. So far this year, more than 2.5 million acres have been scorched across Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Idaho and another 4.2 million acres in California — a record for the state. The largest California wildfire in history is still burning, having consumed more than 1 million acres. Experts say several factors are causing this devastating trend: a warming climate that produces drought conditions and high winds that spread fires rapidly across the land; increased human development near wildlands; and century-old fire-suppression policies that create denser, more-flammable forests. But establishing new fire prevention policies presents a challenge to communities near forests that are struggling to balance safety ...

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