Sprawl Cited As One Cause Of The West’s Rampant Wildfires

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July 20, 2017

Several states in the West, most notably California, are defending against an increasing number of wildfires. Research suggests that climate change is to blame, but where we build our homes is making the situation worse.

Wired reports that sprawl is exacerbating wildfires. As the publication explains, wildfires occur Wildland-Urban Interface, where civilization (homes and the built environment) and nature meet. Some 39 percent of all homes in the country are in the WUI zone, and 10 million new housing units were added to the area since 2000. The result is a mix of houses and flammable vegetation in close proximity.

The greatest expansion of houses is on previously unbuilt spaces at the edges of cities. In other words: sprawl. The “intermix” version of the WUI, with development cropping up amid nature is even more fiery than interface WUI, with construction slammed right up against greenbelt.

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