Giving Compass’ Take:
• Smart Cities Dive discusses how many cities may need to prepare for wildfires as year-round events, not just contained to a single season.
• The preparation for these disasters will be costly and complicated: How can funders help the local communities that are affected? What role will technology play?
Fire “season” is no more. Communities are more likely than ever to face catastrophic wildfires like the Carr and Mendocino Complex Fires — and preparation should not be underestimated.
Wildfires have wreaked havoc this summer along much of the West Coast, and for affected cities like Redding, CA, the recovery and rebuilding process will be long and expensive.
Redding was recently rocked by the Carr Fire, now the eighth-largest in California’s history, while the biggest-ever Mendocino Complex Fires have also created problems across more than 363,000 acres of land.
Nearby states, including Montana, Oregon and Washington, have struggled with wildfires throughout this year too, leaving thousands of residents displaced and acres of forest burned. Experts believe there is now no longer a set time for the highest risk of wildfires.
“We used to have a fire season, now we’re saying fire season is year-round,” Pam Leschak, a national program manager at the USDA Forest Service, told Smart Cities Dive. “Just about any month in the year, you’ll find there’s wildfires happening somewhere in the U.S. With accumulation of fuels, with climate change, with more people moving into the wildland-urban interface and building in high-risk areas, this is the new normal.”
And for cities that have been caught up in wildfires, or are at risk in the future, the time is now to prepare for any future disasters, while recovery presents its own challenges. In addition, while technology can help cities and other jurisdictions track wildfires and communicate with residents, issues that arise should not be underestimated.
Read the full article about year-round wildfires across the U.S. by Chris Teale at Smart Cities Dive.
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