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Washington, D.C. July 25, 2019 — Two new reports from the Center for American Progress highlight the need to protect vulnerable communities from the risk of wildfires.

The reports rely on new studies that show that 30 million Americans currently live in places that have high potential for wildfire. Roughly 12 million of these people live in especially vulnerable communities where they are unlikely to have the resources to prepare for or recover from wildfires. These communities often have high numbers of elderly, disabled, or low-income residents and are more likely to be communities of color.

As climate change makes wildfires worse, these communities are at risk of being left behind. Yet, instead of directing the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior to make substantial investments in public safety, the Trump administration is undercutting bedrock environmental laws and promoting logging without any measurable public benefit.

“If catastrophic events like what occurred during and after the Camp Fire are to be avoided in the future, agencies will need to make real investments in community safety measures and disaster response preparations that provide the right resources to all community members, including at-risk populations,” said Ryan Richards, author of the reports and a senior policy analyst for Public Lands at CAP.

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These reports lay out a roadmap that federal and state policymakers can use to protect communities before and after a fire—through smart investments in forests and conservation; support for community planning and fire-safe housing retrofits; and effective, equitable disaster response and recovery programs.

Read the first report: “Before the Fire: Protecting Vulnerable Communities from Wildfire” by Ryan Richards

Read the second report: “After the Fire: Vulnerable Communities Respond and Rebuild” by Ryan Richards