Oct 16, 2017
A man who narrowly escaped the Santa Rosa wildfire north of San Francisco explained why he delayed evacuating. “We lived in a certified fire-safe neighborhood – we’d had a wildfire risk assessment completed.”
There’s no such thing as fire-safe! Real estate developers and mortgage lenders profit from building homes in wilderness areas. It is not in their interest to explain that reducing risk by clearing dry brush does not guarantee safety.
In fire-prone areas, it would cost vast sums of money and require comprehensive planning to even come close to fire-proofing a community.
In recent years, the work of wildfire prevention has shifted from state-level public planning and funding to local government and homeowners. Wildfire prevention is now primarily done by local communities applying for small grants and organizing their own clean up of dry brush.
Because of the haphazard way all this is organized, it is no surprise that a recent study found that only 2 percent of communities in high risk areas have done wildfire prevention and preparation.
A “fire-safe neighborhood?” It’s impossible with the chaotic way this system is organized!