This year California saw its most destructive year of wildfires in history, with more than 15,000 structures damaged or destroyed and more than 45 people killed.
There's now a debate on whether or not the burned down homes should be rebuilt. Some of the neighborhoods that burned this year went through fires before when there was less development. But as development grows, experts say the fire cycle is shortening from decades to years.
“I think what’s next is that every mayor, every town council and city planning board has to take this really seriously. I would tell a zoning commission in Claremont or wherever, ‘Buy up the land before it gets built. And if a fire comes through, buy up the land so it won’t burn again.’”
Tennis Wick, director of the Permit and Resource Management Department in Sonoma County, doesn't agree with that:
“I think that is an incredibly insensitive and impractical suggestion. We are respecting people’s property rights, and we will be doing everything possible to help people get back into their properties as soon as possible. Earthquake, fire, flood and landslide — that’s the reality of development in California. We have to measure risk and mitigate it as best we can."