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Some question future development in California wildfire areas

As anyone who has lived here in California for any length of time knows, wildfires could devastate many of the state's residential communities. In the aftermath of recent fires here in the state, some wonder why future development projects are given the green light by government officials. They argue that it's foolhardy to put that many people and homes at risk.

At least one study indicates that California's wildfires are burning faster and hotter than in years past. They spread farther and are more difficult to predict. With these dangers, questions are being raised regarding the wisdom of continued building in areas where wildfires are more prevalent.

For instance, one development approved a new housing development around 65 miles north of the Los Angeles downtown area. In that location, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports approximately 31 large wildfires close to the development area between 1964 and 2015 that covered no less than 100 acres. Four of them took place within the project's boundary lines. While it is true that more housing may be needed in the state, putting those homes in such an area may not be the best course of action.

Deciding where to put a development is a major consideration when looking to construct new communities. With space at a premium, some developers are having to encroach on wilderness areas vulnerable to wildfires. Obtaining approval to build in these areas could become more problematic if local governments begin to feel pressure from other governmental agencies, advocacy groups and the public not to allow development to take place in certain areas.

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