Earthquake Expert Lucy Jones Launches Project to Help CA Communities Prepare and Recover from Wildfires

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Earthquake expert Dr. Lucy Jones has found that preparing for earthquakes is similar to preparing for wildfires.

“If the company can’t reopen when people come back, they won’t be part of the recovery,” said Jones, the chief scientist and founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center.

This week, Jones launched a project to support California communities in their preparedness and recovery from wildfires as they become more common and more destructive.

“Every dollar spent on disaster prevention will save you six dollars in the long run,” Jones said. “The early investment is a much more effective way to do it, and it’s not just money.

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“It’s really that idea: Do you have a community to come home to? If your community is important to you, and you want it to be there not just until the next disaster, but until the next disaster, then you have to now what to do.”

Jones is keeping a close eye on the McKinney Fire in Northern California near the Oregon border.

In just three days, it became the largest wildfire in California this year. On Thursday, the fire scorched 58,668 acres and was reduced by 10%, according to the US Forest Service. Four people died in the fire.

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“The conditions are such that our fuels are so absolutely dry. Record dry for both live and dead fuels in many areas. When we get the conditions and the conditions are ripe, these fires will burn extremely hot and burn extremely fast, as they did during the first few hours of fire,” Mike Lindberry, a CalFire public information officer assigned to the McKinney Fire, told Eyewitness News earlier this week.

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Numerous buildings have been destroyed and thousands have been forced to evacuate. Jones says not enough attention is being paid to the small businesses in these communities that may never recover from a massive wildfire.

“People tend to think the risk of wildfires is there, and they’re the ones who have it now,” Jones said. “But climate change is putting pressure on every ecosystem in the world.”

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