Wildfires Raging in Western States: Reducing the Vulnerability of Building in Fire Prone Areas2018-06-14
Large, fast-moving wildfires are reported to be blazing in 12 states across the country including Colorado, California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Alaska. Excessive heat and dry conditions exacerbated by high winds are fueling the conflagrations. Evacuations are being ordered in areas threatened by the advancing fires.
“Since the western United States often experiences hot and dry weather conditions this time of year, wildland fire ignitions are common,” Stephen Strader, PhD, an assistant professor in Villanova’s Department of Geography who researches wildfires, says.
“Although lightning and thunderstorms do often ignite vegetation creating a wildland fire, humans are still the number one cause for wildland fire ignition in the U.S.”
A tremendous increase in population and development in areas that are vulnerable to wildfires has created a more disaster prone society, according to Strader.
“As a result of increasing drought/heat conditions and population in the western U.S., large (greater than 5,000 acres) wildland fires have increased in frequency and size over the last 20 years (see Strader 2018; https://bit.ly/2EPx6iN), he adds.
“The total number of homes and total developed land area prone to wildfire impacts has increased by nearly 1,350% since 1940 throughout the conterminous U.S. Residents in wildfire prone locations should have a plan in place in case action needs to be taken, Strader cautioned. “Unfortunately, because climate and society are both changing, an even stronger emphasis on wildland fire mitigation practices needs to be placed on communities, cities, and governmental organizations if future disaster losses are to be reduced.”
Strader has expertise in wildfires natural hazards, as well as hazards and society and can talk about the wildfires and how planning can mitigate the damage they cause. To contact Strader, click on his headshot above, call the Media Relations office at (610) 519-5152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot, dry conditions help fuel fast-moving wildfires in the west
Hot and dry conditions are helping fuel fast-moving wildfires blazing throughout the west. as of wednesday afternoon there were 43 large fires burning in 12 states throughout the country: alaska, washington, california, idaho, utah, arizona, wyoming, colorado, new mexico, oklahoma, texas and...ABC News