Research Library

25 September 2019


Publishers: Hispanic Access Foundation
Author: Hispanic Access Foundation
Topics: Wildfires
Geographic Focus: National

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Our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and resulting climate change are leading to higher temperatures, record-setting heat waves, and drier and more arid conditions in the West. These conditions matched with underfunded forest management, outdated land use policies and practices, and more people living in fire-prone areas has led to catastrophic wildfires that affect more people. Since 2000, an average of 73,200 wildfires burned an average of 6.9 million acres, a figure which has nearly doubled the average annual acreage burned in the 1990s (3.3 million acres). In 2017 alone, wildfires burned 10 million acres. In addition, a new study has found that approximately 85% of wildfires are caused by human activity and one in three houses in the US resides in the wildland urban interface (approximately 44 million homes).

These conditions are having severe consequences on communities, most significantly marginalized and vulnerable communities, such as low-income, disabled, elderly and communities of color. The effects of wildfires range from access to emergency response, disaster relief, and public and mental health services to job security, economic productivity, land use planning and affordable housing.

Latino communities are more vulnerable to experiencing these adverse effects of wildfires and Latino voters are not only aware of these impacts, but are ready for decision makers to take action to address climate change, provide more funding for forest management and community readiness, and ensure communities have access to the services they need to plan for, respond to, and recover and adapt to life with wildfires.

Last modified on 27 May 2020

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