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Sally Jewell

Homes on edge of the wilderness complicate wildfire efforts

When Pat Telleria saw the wind-driven flames sweeping across the grass foothills toward his dream home, he picked up the phone.

In the middle of the night, he called 911. "I'm next. It's coming right at me!' he told dispatchers. "And they said, 'You're out of luck. All the resources are allocated.'" That's when the wall of fire came at them "and it was humming."

Telleria's home near Boise stands on the edge of the wilderness in a landscape that offers pastoral serenity but is also susceptible to wildfires. Some 44 million homes have been built in similar areas of the lower 48 states, making the properties expensive to protect from flames and draining...

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