April 2, 2023
Source: Yale Climate Connections
In 2018, the Camp wildfire roared into Paradise, California. Traffic jammed as people tried to escape.
Roy Thun of the engineering firm GHD says fire evacuations like this one pose huge logistical challenges.
“It can be horrific,” he says. “You’re trying to get people and animals out of harm’s way. At the same time, you’re trying to get first responders into those same areas.”
And communities may not have dedicated staff to direct traffic. So the job is sometimes left to firefighters, which takes them away from fighting the fire.
Thun says these problems are becoming worse as climate change makes wildfires more extreme and more people move into at-risk areas.
So GHD helps create evacuation plans for communities where wildfire is a danger.