The number of wildfires, and the size of the population affected by them have significantly increased in Colorado, USA. However, public policies are worsening the state's fire risk situation, according to a KUNC I-News Network investigation. One quarter of the Colorado homes are actually built in areas that are at risk for the most dangerous wildfires, says the report.
Climate change has worsened dry spells, however "public policies regarding both population growth and forest management are adding to the wildfire problem." Additionally, researchers at the Fort Collins Laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station reviewed satellite images of three forests with heavy damage from pine beetles that had been mechanically thinned, according to the report. The piles were 'stacks of dry timber from forest thinning efforts waiting to be burned.'
Community Wildfire Protection Plans and programs like Firewise, which help homeowners and communities cooperate to reduce their vulnerability to forest fires can be counter effective, as builders use the fact that their homes are more fire resistant to justify developing deeper into the red zone, said Ray Rasker, executive director of Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, Mont., an independent, non-partisan research firm that has analyzed the costs of western wildfires for the past decade.
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