Lucian Deaton, manager of NFPA’s Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities Programs, recently heard Dr. Stephen Pyne, the United States’ foremost forestry historian, speak at a conference at Arizona State University, where he challenged the attendees to think of the wildland/urban interface (WUI) “not as wilderness, but as bits of urban development that happen to have unique (and often fire-prone) landscaping—a perspective that makes it easy to grasp the threat faced by structures in the WUI.”
Whether you believe in climate change or think that the planet is simply experiencing a shift in global weather cycles, it is clear that our built environment and our current social processes were designed for a time that is now past. We are entering a new reality and, Dr. Pyne stressed, we need to accept these new conditions if we are to protect the assets we want to save, such as structures, while “allowing fire to provide its natural balance to the environment.”
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