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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fire and Sustainability: Considerations for California's Altered Future Climate


In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, policies to achieve a sustainable coexistence with wildfire should be enacted now. This paper recommends a variety of actions that should be taken regardless of the many uncertainties in predicting future fire regimes. Adoption of a risk-based framework for fire management, reintroduction of fire to fire-prone ecosystems and careful use of fire surrogates, creation of new and flexible policies, and a serious reevaluation of urban planning and building in fire-prone locations are needed to reach a sustainable coexistence with fire in the future. Our future cities and communities must be less susceptible to wildfire damage, and the ecosystems upon which we depend must be made more resilient to further disruptions in fire regimes.

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