Experts look ways to curb deaths as fires get more severe

BILLINGS, Montana (AP) — Experts are looking for ways to reduce growing death tolls from blazes in California and across the U.S. West, suggesting the creation of fire buffers between housing and dry brush and burying power lines.

They also say lighting more controlled burns to keep vegetation in check could give people a better chance of surviving wildfires.

Housing developments are pushing farther into fire-prone land that’s often become overgrown.

That’s set the stage for tragedy, as whipping winds and drought that are characteristic of climate change stoke wildfires like those raging in Northern and Southern California. At least 51 people have died.

Hundreds of thousands of people were told to evacuate ahead of the blazes. Some experts point to an over-reliance on evacuation and too little attention paid to making communities safe.

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