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Wildfire threat becomes tool to fight home builders

Wildfire
AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File
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Fire crews prepare to defend a home as a wildfire advances Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Bonsall, Calif. Environmental groups have been arguing in California courts that developers are not fully considering the risks of wildfire and choked evacuation routes when they plan housing developments near fire-prone areas.

Environmental groups have been arguing in California courts that developers are not fully considering the risks of wildfire and choked evacuation routes when they plan their housing developments near fire-prone areas.

And they've been winning.

The lawsuits center on housing at the edge of forests and brush, called the wildland-urban interface.

Experts say such litigation could become more common.

But builders say the concern about evacuation routes is a cover for anti-sprawl activists.