By Anna Huntsman and Jake Steinberg, News21 (via Cronkite News) Originally published Thursday, August 15 ELFIN FOREST, CA — Elfin Forest is named for the miniature trees that blanket the surrounding ridgeline. The terrain acts like a wall, which has until recently prevented suburban San Diego from sprawling into the bucolic valley. The town, home to 800 people and 300 horses, bills itself as “A Rural Community.” It’s accessed by a single winding two-lane road. When the valley catches fire, as it does periodically, that road is the only escape route. Residents will soon share it with 700 new neighbors. “We’re already at maximum density when it comes to evacuation,” said JP Theberge, chairman of the Town Council. “This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.” The U.S. has spent more than $500 billion over the past five years cleaning up after a spate of record-breaking hurricanes and wildfires – climate-related disasters the government expects to become more frequent and more furious. Federal firefighting costs now consume more than half of the National Forest Service’s budget. The National Flood Insurance Program is $20.5 billion in debt. Critics say these programs have subsidized risky land-use choices for decades, and now the bill… Read full this story
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