The California Camp Fire, currently estimated as 2018’s costliest disaster at losses of 16.5 billion worth of damage, has caused some experts to reconsider the traditional model of recovery, according to an article on NPR.
“We’ve done a lot of work over the years to help people respond or rebuild,” FEMA’s Region 9 administrator, who is overseeing the California wildfire recovery, told NPR. “But how do we get them to plan better, prepare better and mitigate against future disasters?”
That planning includes moves at the congressional level – allowing FEMA to direct funds to pre-disaster planning instead of just recovery – as well as rebuilding in lower risk areas after disaster to plan for the next event.
Experts such as Paradise recreation and parks director Dan Efseaff propose buying private properties to convert to open space, which also could serve as a firebreak and staging area should disaster strike again.
“California needs to figure out, how do we live with fire, how do we adapt to fire,” Efseaff told NPR. “What we do in Paradise has huge implications for not only the state but the country.”