Utility-caused wildfires spread beyond California, driven by climate change

Utility equipment sparks wildfires across the U.S., signaling the need for adaptation in the face of escalating risks from climate change.

Ivan Penn reports for The New York Times.


In short:

  • Climate change exacerbates the risk of wildfires ignited by utility equipment, with incidents reported in Texas, Hawaii and Oregon, expanding beyond traditionally fire-prone California.
  • A jury recently awarded $42 million to families affected by a wildfire in Oregon, highlighting the growing legal and financial challenges utilities face.
  • Efforts to mitigate these risks include burying power lines and implementing technology to cut power quickly, but critics argue utilities need to do more.

Key quote:

"There’s this unwillingness in this industry to adapt. It’s criminal incompetence."

— Cody Berne, lawyer representing wildfire survivors

Why this matters:

As wildfires become more common in unexpected places, there's a clear signal that the traditional ways of managing utilities and preparing for natural disasters are inadequate.

How do wildfires impact your health?

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