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Can California prevent more wildfires?

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The devastating November fires created tens of millions of dollars in property damage. Is there something the state can do to help prevent more of these record-breaking fires?

What are lawmakers doing about wildfire prevention?

California has extreme weather conditions, an arid climate and hilly geography. This means wildfires strike quickly and viciously. Lawmakers and charities are trying to introduce different fire prevention methods to help. These include the following:

  • Encouraging homeowners to build fire breaks around homes
  • Inspecting at-risk homes
  • Offering free smoke alarms and installation
  • Tripling the number of prescribed fires

Prescribed burns are controversial. They create unpleasant smoke and threaten endangered native wildlife. Some environmentalists claim a better approach is to responsibly clear government-protected forests of dead and dying trees. This approach would require significant funding and labor.

However, this might not be enough. Researchers at U.C. Berkeley generated simulations to try to predict how much land should be left strategically undeveloped. They have found that when homes are closer together, they are less likely to burn. This undeveloped land could reduce people's exposure to wildfires.

Each fire teaches researchers more about what starts and what stops a fire. Often, creating defensible landscapes and using fire-resistant materials as recommended is your best defense against wildfire property damage.

What can property owners do?

If you are concerned about future property damage from wildfires, it is important to learn how to protect yourself. Different government bodies regularly publish new research and daily weather forecasts to help residents prevent wildfires.

Wildfires today are more destructive than ever before. If your property was damaged in a wildfire last year, your insurance should cover the damage. If you are having difficulty collecting the benefits you are owed, seek legal help.

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