Research has clearly demonstrated that the most effective way to protect lives, property, and the natural environment from wildland fire is to focus directly on making communities more fire safe rather than spending millions of dollars clearing habitat far from assets at risk. This provides for long-term solutions rather than endlessly trying to modify the natural environment. Fuel treatments can provide some benefit, but they continuously fail because they require constant maintenance and a concomitant effort by homeowners to maintain firesafe structures. In California, most homes ignite by embers traveling up to two miles from wind-driven fire fire fronts. USFS researcher Jack Cohen has demonstrated that fuel treatments beyond 100 feet become increasingly ineffective. Finally, fuel treatments in one system, like ponderosa pine forests, are damaging and ineffective in systems like chaparral. Large, severe fires are natural in many ecosystems. Trying to eliminate them is unreasonable.
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