Millard-Ball on Twin Concerns of Fire Safety and Housing Access

Associate Professor of Urban Planning Adam Millard-Ball spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about housing developments planned for parts of California that are prone to wildfire. The state Attorney General’s Office has opposed some of these developments, arguing that they pose grave danger in an era when uncontrolled wildfires threaten the state. The article notes that devastation in places like Santa Rosa, Paradise and Redding, in the so-called wildland-urban interface, has underscored how suburban sprawl is not only a target of fire but fodder for it, hastening the speed and intensity of blazes. Limiting development, however, can frustrate growth plans of small towns and cities and undermine progress on the state’s housing crunch. “There are really these twin concerns coming into conflict now,” Millard-Ball said. “The state’s housing crisis makes it an imperative to make it easy to build housing. At the same time, there’s the threat and tragedy of wildfires.”

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