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Susie Cagle

Last week, I told the story of how my family’s house burned down in a 1977 wildfire — and about watching a fire burn on the hill above it, threatening to torch it a second time. Today, I was really glad to have the opportunity to speak about living in wildfire country on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

It was especially great to hear from folks around the country, mainly the Western bits, who are also living with wildfires — and the reality that they are burning hotter, faster, and farther than ever, thanks in part to human-caused climate change.

We may have a good deal of disaster fatigue out here, but I think we’re under no delusion of safety. As much of the Western half of the country suffers through a drought heading into another hot summer, we’re essentially all watching the fire on the hill now, hoping it doesn’t dart down into our canyon, but knowing that it very may well.

On the plus side, it sounds like those fire-preventing, dry-brush-chomping goats are working great in some places!

Read the piece that inspired the interview: Survival and stubbornness in California wildfire country.