Evolving Risk in Public and Firefighter Safety

WUI risk for all will just get bigger & worse unless land use planning changes

WUI, and exurban intermix areas will keep expanding as populations grow. Firefighters will protect lives and property in communities that haven't been built yet. Citizens and their local governments will determine (actively or by default) where and how fire safe they will be. Current research (cafiresci.org/wui) suggests specific ways to locate, plan, and construct new communities in order to reduce their exposure to fire risk, and increase defensibility and survival. With new geographic data layers that could be created, GIS-based analyses of landscapes could apply these findings to map fire risk and hazard realistically and at fine enough spatial scale to be useful for project-level planning. Strong regional and local land use planning policies based on current fire science could (if devised and enforced) achieve great public good by helping create a new generation of very fire-safe communities located in defensible places with good access. Or else we'll get more of the same.

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Idea No. 7