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The primal fear of brush fires

The primal fear of brush fires

I live in a fairly dense forest on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Several thousand houses and mobile homes dot the landscape, perched on half-acre parcels subdivided 30 years ago. Thus far, my neighbors and I have been spared a catastrophic fire, but this area may not have been the wisest place for residential development. Human activity can heighten the risk of fire exponentially, and there are a lot of humans here. We are in the midst of a serious drought, making us uneasy. August, however, is always an uneasy month. Wildfires, to us, are what tornadoes are to people in Kansas. Fires are raging not far from me, on all sides, from all points of the compass, producing smoke,...

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