With the cost of fighting fires having risen dramatically, a recent op-ed suggests that cities and counties reign in sprawl and prevent home construction in forest areas.
"In recent years, the majority of the firefighting effort has focused on "structure protection." In other words, firefighters are no longer fighting the fires themselves, but spending the majority of time and effort defending homes created by rural sprawl."
"Fire-related costs, both in loss of life and tax dollars, are almost totally avoidable. Nearly 85 percent of the half-mile fire hazard zones surrounding U.S. communities is found on private lands. And it is largely the responsibility of state and local government to regulate and minimize the risk posed by wildfires."
"If states would enact urban growth boundaries such as Oregon has done that confine new construction in or near existing communities, wildfire would be a minor threat to humans. But due to the failure and even hostility of many of the West's state and local governments to control sprawl, we have a growing mess and crisis."