Growth Pushes People Into Fireplace

<p>Increased development in wooded and fire-prone areas is one of the major causes of California's recent "megafires".</p>
October 25, 2007, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"Megafires, also called 'siege fires,' are the increasingly frequent blazes that burn 500,000 acres or more – 10 times the size of the average forest fire of 20 years ago. One of the current wildfires is the sixth biggest in California ever, in terms of acreage burned, according to state figures and news reports."

"The trend to more superhot fires, experts say, has been driven by a century-long policy of the US Forest Service to stop wildfires as quickly as possible. The unintentional consequence was to halt the natural eradication of underbrush, now the primary fuel for megafires."

"Three other factors contribute to the trend, they add. First is climate change marked by a 1-degree F. rise in average yearly temperature across the West. Second is a fire season that on average is 78 days longer than in the late 1980s. Third is increased building of homes and other structures in wooded areas."

"In California, where population growth has averaged more than 600,000 a year for at least a decade, housing has pushed into such areas."

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 in The Christian Science Monitor
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email