state of fire

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Dr. Pincetl in the Guardian: California is poised for a catastrophic fire season. Experts say its plan isn’t nearly enough

The plan also sets aside $25m to grant food to low-income homeowners to fund the updates and renovations needed to fireproof their homes. “Of course, it’s good – but the question is how far will this money go?” said Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability who specializes in the intersection of urban planning and environmental policy.

Although updates to “harden” homes against fires can save lives, such improvements will need to be maintained over time. Since many low-income residents cannot afford fire insurance or even get coverage because the risk of fires in their area is so high, periodic home updates will be untenable for many. Moreover, for many low-income residents, navigating the government paperwork to apply for grants could be inaccessible, she said. “So again, this is a nice start, but how successful it’ll be is all in the details.”