According to The Sacramento Bee, around 1.2 million new homes will be built “in the highest wildfire risk areas” of California between 2000 and 2050, despite threats facing the rural areas. Wildfire experts and scientists believe not enough attention is being spent on designing homes to withstand fires or discouraging the rapid growth in these once rural areas. Instead, people are blaming public entities and climate change for the fast-spreading blazes.

“We’re seeing wildfires that have always been a part of the landscape that are now interacting more and more with us - not just because they are getting larger, but because we’re building in wildfire prone regions,” said Stephen Strader, a researcher and geographer at Villanova University. “If we don’t stop what we’re doing, this is only going to get worse.”

Strader studied wildfire history in the western United States going back three decades, then mapped population growth in areas where fire activity had ranged from medium to very high. His research determined there were 600,000 homes in fire prone areas in the West in 1940. Today, that number is around 7 million.

Cal Fire has recommended that officials in nearly 200 cities across the state declare that parts of their cities are in very high fire hazard severity zones. That list includes major cities like Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego and Anaheim. Placerville, Auburn and Colfax also face extreme fire risk, Cal Fire said.

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