Phoenix — America's hottest and fastest-growing big city — is on the frontlines in the fight against drought, extreme heat, and wildfire. We bring you stories of how these global problems affect real Arizonans, and what is being done to solve them. This podcast series is supported by the Arizona Community Foundation and Intel.

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Fire Pt. 3: Fire Is Not the Enemy

Fire-scarred mountains near Flagstaff.
2022 was one of the worst fire seasons in Flagstaff, Arizona's recent history. The burn scars have made a once-green mountain face appear brown and bald. (Photo by Anthony Wallace)
Anthony J. Wallace

The cost of putting a fire out is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assessing the total cost of a wildfire. Multiple studies have shown it is less than 10% of the full cost of the disaster, which includes post-wildfire flooding. In this episode, we travel to Flagstaff, Arizona in the midst of one of its worst wildfire seasons in recent history. We look closely at the “Herculean effort” it takes to mitigate severe post-wildfire flooding in the short term, as well as some of the most promising long-term solutions to reduce the risk of wildfire—including a surprising shift in perspective: “fire is not the enemy.”