California’s top firefighting authorities want to use chainsaws and flames to thin out forests and mow down brush on at least half a million acres a year from Redding to San Diego.
The plan — which aims to roughly double the current pace of so-called vegetation management within five years — comes at the behest of Gov. Gavin Newsom and is the state’s primary response to the massive blazes that have ravaged communities across the state.
However, an emerging body of scientific research on patterns of homes destroyed by fire suggests the state’s approach may be ignoring one of the most crucial elements for keeping people safe and limiting wildfire ignition sources.
Scientists have increasingly found that loss of property and life from fire is overwhelmingly the result of precariously placed housing in and bordering wildland areas — residential developments that are, themselves, a major driver sparking conflagrations.
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