Sep 27, 2016

As California's fire risks grow, are home builders getting the message?

California
USA
by
Zhai Yun Tan
,
The Christian Science Monitor
Firefighters battle flames as a house burns in Lower Lake, Calif., in August 2016. Photo: Josh Edelson, AP
Firefighters battle flames as a house burns in Lower Lake, Calif., in August 2016. Photo: Josh Edelson, AP

With a historic drought and high temperatures, California is seeing longer and deadlier wildfire seasons – but the threat has not deterred developers from rebuilding homes in wilderness areas most prone to fires...

Building houses near wilderness areas can be dangerous because the development is in close proximity with dry fuels – bushes and trees – that can burn easily, especially during dry and hot seasons. But housing demand in these areas continues to increase, especially for seasonal homes, as the location often boasts scenic views and quiet settings...

This occurs even as scientists predict larger, more frequent and intense wildfire seasons. LeRoy Westerling, a professor at University of California-Merced, found that the number of fires on public lands in the west has increased by 500 percent since the late 1970s