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OSU Researcher: Urban Development Needs To Accomodate Inevitability Of Wildfires

Brian Bull

The 2020 wildfire season has seen some of the worst property destruction in Oregon’s history.  Wildfire experts warn communities need to be prepared for more like this one.

The development of urban areas in wildlands is a major trend in the U.S., according to Ericka Fischer.  She’s an assistant professor in Oregon State University’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering. She warns that more disaster is certain.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A scorched door marks where a motel in Talent once stood.

"Trying to stop a wildfire from happening is like trying to stop a hurricane from happening,” she said.

Fischer added that people can’t just rebuild the same way they always have after a fire.  And hospitals, schools, and water systems need to be uniquely built in areas where urban communities meet wildlands.

“Thinking about planning, how can we ensure that the city is better planned for evacuation, for fires in the future, what codes and standards can we adopt to ensure better safety in the future?”

Fischer made her remarks during an OSU media conference with wildfire experts.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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