FILE - In this Thursday, July 26, 2018 file photo, a structure burns as the Carr fire races along Highway 299 near Redding, Calif. In the last year, fires have devastated neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa, the Southern California beach city of Ventura and, now, the inland city of Redding. Hotter weather from changing climates is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame cities for expanding into previously undeveloped areas susceptible to fire. AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

Experts say urban sprawl, climate change hike wildfire risk

July 28, 2018 - 12:07 pm

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A fire that destroyed neighborhoods in the Northern California city of Redding underscores a new reality in the state: Urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.

In the last year, fires have devastated neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura.

Climate and fire experts say hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions. But they also blame municipalities for expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas.

The fire that affected Redding started Monday about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of the city of about 92,000 people. Redding is about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Fire officials say dry vegetation and gusty winds whipped up the flames.

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