I’ll admit it, I was scared. I was going to report on wildfires. It was my first reporting trip where something dangerous could happen. But we had Eric Sagara, who had reported on dozens of wildfires and knew how to keep us safe.
Listen to the story
Eric, Ike Sriskandarajah and I were trying to find out why wildfires are getting bigger, more expensive to fight and closer to where people live. In late July, the three of us spent a week on the road in a cramped SUV, bound for places that had been touched by devastating fires to see firsthand how firefighters and their communities battle blazes. Our first stop was the Sand Fire in Southern California.
Our reporting was featured on a recent episode of Reveal that focused on how wildfire risks are reaching beyond the West and how a policy of suppression increased the potential for larger, more destructive fires. We dug deeper in our story about the increased threat of wildfire as more U.S. homes are built in areas that bump up against wildland. We included an app that shows wildfire vulnerability throughout the country, state by state, month to month.
Here, we bring you more images from our journey into wildfire zones, what we’re calling America’s Ring of Fire.
Emmanuel Martinez is a data reporter for Reveal. A graduate of UC Irvine, Martinez received his master’s degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied radio and data journalism. Prior to joining Reveal, he interned for KPCC, the Los Angeles NPR affiliate, where he helped reporters acquire, clean and analyze data. Martinez is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.