What Can We Do to Prevent Wildfires?

Experts are seeking ways to increase survival rates.

Western state wildfires have grown to be extremely deadly, leaving many residents susceptible to danger. Recently, the Camp Fire in California has killed at least 77 people. Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist says “there are so many things that can go wrong [during a fire], in the warning, the modes of getting the message out, the confusion.” These concerns leave us with an important question: is there a way to better our chances of surviving a wildfire?

Moritz urged many to consider creating a “retreat zone”: a place where residents can go when no other routes of escaping seem possible.  This “retreat zone” would be a community center built to withstand fires that top 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, according to the International Code Council, more buffers around housing developments should be created, including sprinklers, fire-resistant walls, and barriers to keep sparks out of chimneys. Lastly, putting electric lines underground can help guard against destructive burns.

To try and prevent disastrous fires such as the wildfire that's ravaged California from happening again, the Forest Service has proposed a $3 million bump for its wildfire fuels programs. With this – and the implementations and precautions mentioned above – wildfires may be more controllable in the future. 

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