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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Building to Coexist with Fire: Community Risk Reduction Measures for New Development in California

  • Author(s): Moritz, Max;
  • Butsic, Van
  • et al.

Where communities are built on the landscape, and how they are designed, are very important issues in determining how vulnerable they will be to wildfire-related losses.

This publication offers guidance on how planners, fire districts, and communities can develop community-scale risk reduction measures (RRM) when building or rebuilding in fire-prone areas.

Considerations include inclusion of fire professionals in the planning process; the spatial placement of communities; how communities are laid out to minimize exposure; and key defensibility, ignition, and evacuation concerns. Examples are provided for each RRM, along with some consideration of challenges associated with their implementation.

The guidance provided here will be helpful for agency personnel involved in evaluating and approving future development in California. Because there is a pressing need for additional housing in California, communities must be built with design principles that make them safer to inhabit and less vulnerable to inevitable wildfires.

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