Poll: The Public Supports Development Limits in California's Wildfire Areas

An idea that is gaining support with the public as the state of California suffers through catastrophic fire season after catastrophic fire season is still a deeply difficult political proposition.

1 minute read

October 30, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Paradise, California

"The wildfires engulfing California this month have burned some of the same areas where other major fires have destroyed thousands of homes in recent years," writes Liam Dillon for the Los Angeles Times, but "no one has formally proposed robust limits on home building in areas at risk of wildfire."

There's been plenty of public hand wringing of the role of PG&E in what has been another disastrous fire season in California, as the utility responds to its role, and liability, in destructive fires of recent years by shutting down power to whole huge swaths of the state.

Despite the lack of conversation among political leaders about limiting home building in wildfire-prone areas, the idea seems to be catching on as fires repeatedly strike the same areas. Dillon reports:

In June, the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released a poll that showed that three-quarters of California voters believe the state should restrain home building in areas at high risk of wildfires. The poll, prepared for The Times, revealed bipartisan support for such restrictions after deadly fires wiped out tens of thousands of homes across the state in the last two years.

The idea had strong support across party lines, geographic boundaries, generational divides, and disparate demographic groups. The state's political leaders, like Governor Gavin Newsom, are dismissive of the idea, however.

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