Current Approach to Preventing & Controlling Forest Fires Not Working; New Plan, Techniques, & Deforestation Needed. Plus Regulatory Reforms & Funding

ENVIRONMENT

SITUATION:
Forest Fires keep burning out of control in California.
California must begin to work with fires, not just fight them.
Means reversing a century of U.S.fire suppression policies & practices.
Focus seems to be about reduction of the fuel that burns in the forest fires

SOLUTIONS:  [Here’s what California needs to do instead]
Rely more on deliberate, prescribed burns to clear out vegetation & piles of fuel.
Use Fire Hazard Severity Zones to identify fire hazards, not fire risks.
Suppressing & even fighting fires has not been effective.
It is time to reverse a century of fire-management policy.
Will require sweeping regulatory reforms and tons of money.
Governor has expanded a drought emergency to 41 California counties,
This covers 30% of the state’s population.
Recently unveiled a $2 billion proposal for fire-prevention efforts, including thinning out overgrown forests.
More investment in firefighting equipment like planes and helicopters needed.

STATs:
“Hazard” designation is based on the physical conditions of a forest area.
Likelihood area will burn over 30 to 50-year period without fuel reduction efforts.

SOURCES:
1) “Suppressing fires has failed. Here’s what California needs to do instead.”
– https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/17/1008473/wildfires-california-prescribed-burns-climate-change-forests/

2) Startup using AI and satellite data to help restore and protect forests  http://www.pachama.com

KEY PEOPLE
Diego Saez-Gil, chief executive of Pachama;
Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.
Jasneet Sharma, director of Santa Clara County’s Office of Sustainability
Chuck Bonham, director of California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Cal OES Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Marshall.

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