Wildfire has been an integral part of California ecosystems for centuries. Now, however, nearly a third of homes in California are in wildland urban interface areas where houses intermingling with wildlands and fire is a natural phenomenon. Just as Californians must live with earthquake risk, they must live with wildfires.
Shaped by ignitions, climate and fuels, wildfires are likely to become more frequent and severe with climate change. The 2017 experience of the largest and most damaging wildfires in California history, and ongoing destructive fires in 2018, provide a window of opportunity for learning to better coexist with wildfire.