Fighting Wildfires With Land Use Laws

More than controlled burns or flying water tankers, zoning could be the firefighters most powerful tool.

"A decade ago, in his highly controversial book Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster, Mike Davis warned that "market-driven urbanization has transgressed common sense. Historic wildlife corridors have been turned into view-lot suburbs, wetland liquefaction zones into marinas and floodplains into industrial and housing tracts."

No one listened. Southern California's population exploded. Development continued in utter disregard of topography or the environment. Plans are now underway to bisect a state park in San Diego with a toll road. Yet each fire or flood or other disaster is viewed by the media and politicians alike as an exceptional event, not the result of systemic failure by private capital, policymakers and government."

"These are not questions without answers, problems without solutions. Only the will is lacking. 'The key to firefighting is land-use planning, growth controls and prevention.' So said the head of the California firefighters. Some 60% of all new homes built during the last decade were in the American west. Much of this development has been in (and at the expense of) what were forests."

Full Story: Land Use in California: The Fire Next Time

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 7 different cities.
$22.00