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Flame and Fortune in the American West
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Flame and Fortune in the American West: Urban Development, Environmental Change, and the Great Oakland Hills Fire

Gregory L. Simon


This book investigates the ongoing politics, folly, and avarice shaping the production of increasingly widespread yet dangerous suburban and exurban landscapes. The 1991 Oakland Hills Tunnel Fire is used as a starting point to better understand these complex social-environmental processes. The Tunnel Fire is the most destructive fire—in terms of structures lost—in California history. More than 3,000 residential structures burned and 25 lives were lost. Although this fire occurred in Oakland and Berkeley, others like it sear through landscapes in California and the American West that have exper ... More

Keywords: suburban landscape, exurban landscape, Oakland Hills Tunnel Fire, California, Berkeley, American West, policy responses, fire

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780520292802
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520292802.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gregory L. Simon, author
University of Colorado Denver

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Part I Flame and Fortune in the American West: An Introduction to the Incendiary

Part II Illuminating the Affluence-Vulnerability Interface in the Tunnel Fire Area

Part III How the West Was Spun: Depoliticizing the root Causes of Wildfire Hazards

Part IV After the Fire: The Concomitant Expansion of Affluence and Risk

End Matter