USA: California races to deter disaster as towns face fire risk
By Ryan Sabalow, Phillipp Reese and Dale Kasler
A McClatchy analysis reveals more than 350,000 Californians live in towns and cities that exist almost entirely within “very high fire hazard severity zones” — Cal Fire’s designation for places highly vulnerable to devastating wildfires. These designations have proven eerily predictive about some of the state’s most destructive wildfires in recent years, including the Camp Fire, the worst in state history.
Cal Fire is making new fire hazard maps — ready in a year or so — that will incorporate regional wind patterns and other climate factors. In the meantime, experts say the current maps, created about a decade ago, still provide an important guide to predict where wildfires could do the most damage , in the same way floodplain maps highlight areas that could be hit hardest during severe storms.