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Flame and Fortune in the American WestUrban Development, Environmental Change, and the Great Oakland Hills Fire$
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Gregory L. Simon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520292802

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520292802.001.0001

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From Excavating to Treating the Incendiary

(p.185) Conclusion
Flame and Fortune in the American West

Gregory L. Simon

University of California Press

This concluding chapter begins by using the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona to illustrate the real risks and human tragedies that arise when fighting fires that threaten residential communities. The disaster reminds us that civil society, politicians, city planners, and private developers among others should no longer conform to fiscal pressures and incentives at the metropolitan fringe as if there were no consequences. Collectively these groups must stop merely treating the symptom of the problem by putting out small fires within the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Instead we need to address the root causes of the firestorm itself, by treating western WUI areas like a patient—the Incendiary—through a comprehensive assessment of their backgrounds, histories, underlying drivers, internal governing mechanisms, core characteristics, and connections to externally influential forces. The chapter also outlines strategies that will help initiate a conversation about how to shift from current tactics that grapple with WUI symptoms to more innovative approaches that directly tackle affluence-vulnerability interface processes.

Keywords:   Yarnell Hill Fire, Arizona, Oakland Hills Tunnel Fire, wildland-urban interface, affluence-vulnerability interface

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