Research scientist says to think about wildfires like earthquakes

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This week’s Station Fire has generated a lot of talk about fire suppression and the ability to control fires in areas like the Angeles National Forest.

John Keeley is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He says few fire ecologists would argue that wildfires should be allowed to burn when they’re in remote areas. But he says the focus should be on keeping wildfires out of foothill communities. Keeley says we need to start thinking of wildfires the same way we think about earthquakes.

John Keeley: “We don't think about putting out earthquakes or stopping them. We recognize they’re inevitable. Well, wildfires on this landscape are inevitable. We’re always going to have big fires, on the landscape. What we need to do is adapt to them and learn how to improve the infrastructure of communities.”

Keeley spoke with KPCC’s Patt Morrison.