Do any of you folks live in an Urban Wilderness Interface?
There’s a very interesting Op-ed in the July 12, 2013 issue of High Country News by John N. Maclean, “Stand down from Western wildfires,” that should interest you.
here’s part of it:
. . . It’s time for a more lasting and meaningful stand-down in this war, which mostly rages in the West. The cost in lives and treasure is just too high, and the battle has lost its focus; the national vision for fighting wildland fire has not kept up with reality.
As wildfires grow in size and severity, driven by climate change and other factors, we send tens of thousands of young men and women out every year with the implicit understanding that they will fight harder, and take greater risks, when homes are threatened. And millions more houses are threatened than ever before. Recent surveys show that about 9 percent of the nation’s land area, containing 39 percent of all houses—44.8 million units—is now part of the flammable wildland-urban interface. That’s what the Yarnell firefighters were doing—protecting houses.
We need to encourage firefighters to exercise more caution, even when homes are at stake. Let the fires that are riskiest for firefighters burn. And assure the firefighters that the nation will have their backs when the inevitable complaints pour in.
We have entered a new world of wildland fire, and it’s going to get worse. It’s hotter and drier; fire seasons begin earlier and last longer. Again and again, we hear firefighters say, as they did after the Arizona deaths, “These are the most extreme fire conditions we’ve ever seen.” . . .