Expert: Devastating wildfires will get worse unless major changes happen immediately

Bay Area

Forestry experts are saying that the urban sprawl into the wildlands in California, along with climate change, are contributing to the devastating wildfires we have had over the last few years.

And as one expert tells KRON4, it’s going to get worse, unless major changes are made immediately.

“Californians move here for the nature, but they are living next to vegetation fuel,” Forestry Specialist Bill Stewart said. 

Stewart is with Berkeley’s Center for Forestry. He is an expert in forest management and wildfires.

Stewart says the more Californians sprawl out into nature, the more the vegetation fuel is left to grow and become tinder.

“We see fingerprints of climate change all over this,” Stewart said. “Even if only 1 or 2 degrees hotter, it’s hotter at night and that is contributing to hotter winds,” Stewart said. 

Stewart says to prevent devastating wildfires in the future, people will have to get serious about defensible space.

“Neighborhoods and communities will have to decide whether they value privacy and trees or safety,” Stewart said.

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