Mojtaba Sadegh, associate professor of civil engineering, published an article, “Human exposure to wildfires has more than doubled in two decades – read this if you’re planning fireworks on July 4” in The Conversation on July 3, 2023.
An excerpt from this article reads: “We found that while the population has grown in the wildland-urban interface, where houses intermingle with forests, shrublands or grasslands, that accounted for only about one-quarter of the increase in the number of humans directly exposed to wildfires across the Lower 48 states from 2000 to 2019.
Three-quarters of that 125% increase in exposure was due to fires’ increasingly encroaching on existing communities. The total burned area increased only 38%, but the locations of intense fires near towns and cities put lives at risk.
In California, which was in drought during much of that period, several wildfire catastrophes hit communities that had existed long before 2000. Almost all these catastrophes occurred during dry, hot, windy conditions that have become increasingly frequent because of climate change.”