LA Times wins Pulitzer for wildfire story

On a day that’s breaking high-temperature records in the Southland, a Los Angeles Times series about wildfire danger has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. More on the story from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.

On a day that’s breaking high-temperature records in the Southland, a Los Angeles Times series about wildfire danger has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. More on the story from KPCC’s Cheryl Devall.

Cheryl Devall: Times reporters Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart examined the spreading incidence of wildfires in the Western United States – and the spiraling cost of fighting those fires. Their five-part series, “Big Burn,” questions the efficiency of water-dropping aircraft, the increasing use of private contractors in firefighting, and the wisdom of land-use policies that allow more people to move into fire-prone areas.

The Pulitzer jury proclaimed the series a “fresh and painstaking exploration into the cost and effectiveness of attempts to combat the growing menace of wildfires.” The prize carries a $10,000 cash award.

The announcement of journalism’s highest honor offered a rare moment of celebration for the Times. Its debt-ridden corporate parent, Tribune Company, is operating under bankruptcy protection. The newspaper has shed sections and staff in response to declining advertising revenue and readership.

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