Saving Homes from Wildfires

Some fairly simple and nonintrusive regulation might reduce the loss from wildfires in the wildland-urban interface zone if the findings of research released today are correct.

It’s not only the flammability of the forest, but the flammability of the houses built near the forest that determine how destructive a fire is going to be.

The issue is not a trivial one. Development is moving up into the hills and forest. Nationally there are 20,000 communities in the “urban-wildland interface,” a loosely defined area in which the suburbs meet the woods. The interface contains almost 39 percent of all housing units in the lower 48 states. Colorado’s Front Range is among the nation’s leaders in development intermingling with wildland vegetation.Research published today by Vassily Spyratos of the Ecole Normale Sup

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Dan Whipple

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