Washington, D.C., Aug. 16, 2023 – The SmarterSafer Coalition, a diverse chorus of voices that includes environmental groups, taxpayer advocates, insurance interests, housing organizations, and mitigation advocates, today released the following statement as the death toll in the Maui wildfires surpassed 100 people:
“The Maui blaze has become the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. since 1918 with at least 106 people killed. It is a catastrophic reminder that the need to invest in pre-disaster mitigation is becoming increasingly urgent. The insufficiently activated emergency warning systems and changing climate which exacerbated this disaster show why it is essential to proactively engage in efforts to protect communities.
While the risk of wildfires cannot be eliminated completely, policymakers must take steps to help communities better prepare for and withstand these natural disasters. We should design our infrastructure to account for wildfire risks by incorporating fire-resistant materials, defensible space requirements, and other measures that enhance resilience. It is also paramount that policymakers address the underlying causes of these wildfires by investing in pre-disaster climate adaptation mitigation efforts to protect our environment as well as taxpayer dollars.
That’s how we can save lives, protect property and preserve the environment in the face of wildfire risks exacerbated by the climate crisis.”
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety.