Burning Down and Building Up: Wildfires and Resiliency

Friday, April 19, 2019

Last year, The Woolsey Fire incinerated tens of thousands of mountainous acres between Malibu and Thousand Oaks, destroying homes, businesses, and habitat.

Rebuilding and recovery efforts are often the immediate focus, and tough questions that need to be asked are deferred and then never addressed. Should we rebuild in high-risk areas? If the answer is yes, how should we rebuild smarter?

Beyond pure planning and building code considerations, there are also thornier issues of economic equity and public policy to be addressed. Fires have a documented gentrifying effect, forcing those without significant means to sell their land and move elsewhere, while those who can afford to rebuild remain, often supported by insurance policies that underprice the true risks and costs of living in the vulnerable urban-wildlands interface.

This panel proposes a candid dialogue on how we can support a balanced approach to development on the urban fringe, and what will be required to align this approach with the environmental realities of a warming climate and continued population growth in Southern California.

Bonnie Blue, Planning Director, City of Malibu
Joshua H. Haffner, Attorney, Haffner Law (specializing in insurance claims from property damage)
Chief Anthony C. Marrone or Chief Jon O'Brien, Los Angeles County Fire Department
Malcolm V. Williams, Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation

Jacob Margolis, KPCC science reporter and host of the popular podcast, The Big One