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Foreword: A Burning Issue

Jun 29, 2022

Claudia Polsky

Volume 48 (2021) - Issue 4

Is there any escape from the consequences of man’s near-Promethean arrogance with fire?

In spring 2021, ELQ and the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at UC Berkeley School of Law centered this question in a half-day virtual symposium. The event brought academics, students, activists, and regulators into conversation about five burning issues: Federal Public Lands Management; Essential Workers; Air Pollution; Homeowner’s Insurance; and Prescribed Burns.

This journal issue reflects the academy’s symposium contributions. Eric Biber and Moira O’Neill describe how regulatory permissiveness in land use approvals places homeowners in harm’s way. William Boyd presents a provocative financial remedy for federal forest mismanagement. Joan Flocks and Maria Espinoza describe those most vulnerable to wildfire health and safety risks yet missing from conversations about government and private property: landless agricultural guestworkers, who live and labor on fire-prone land under inhumane conditions.