"As far as smoke from wildfires, it's by far and away the worst I've ever seen," says Michael Beasley. Beasley has fought fires for more than 30 years and is referring to the current conditions here on the West Coast. He is in favor of additional prescribed burns of pine forests when conditions do improve but believes the focus now should now be on homes.
"We saw that, I think in 2018, California homes that had been built to a stricter code have a higher survivability rate than homes that hadn't been built to that code," says Beasley.
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Shaye Wolf is the Climate Science Director at the Center for Biological Diversity. While she believes there is a role for prescribed burns in some cases, she believes preventative fire safety measures at home are key.
"Fire resistant roofing, screens over vents to prevent embers from coming in... the first few feet from your house and clearing any vegetation in that zone is by far the most important part," says Wolf. Timothy Ingalsbee, who is the executive director of Firefighters United for Safety Ethics and Ecology, agrees. "We could replace every roof in rural America with a metal roof that sheds the embers... that alone would protect that home over 90% the probability of surviving the fire."
All three here are against logging aimed at thinning forests but are hopeful on a closer-to-home approach. Beasley even suggested that prescribed burns be focused on areas close to and directly around communities when conditions improve and temperatures cool down.
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