Those Hardest Hit

Wildfires, even those stoked by climate change, are natural phenomena. “What turns them into disaster,” says Ian Davies of the University of Washington, “are the social and political factors.”

Davies’ recent study of wildfire risk found that poorer people of color—especially Native Americans— are less likely to have “adaptive capacity”, like access to a car or English fluency, and are therefore more vulnerable to wildfire disasters.

“We’re not saying that people who are not poor aren’t affected by wildfires. What we’re saying is, if you have the characteristics of a disadvantaged community, you’re much more likely to take longer to recover.”

The New York Times

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