West Coast
Lali Mitchell lives along Country Club Road, a winding, dead-end street in Harmony Grove, California. In the 2014 Cocos Fire, traffic snarled as residents fled their homes. Mitchell said the road would not support increased traffic from new residents. “There's no way you could be safe here,” she warned. (Kailey Broussard/News21)

CA - Developments in disaster-prone areas means big bucks for builders, but leaves homeowners in some communities at risk

Some places burn and flood repeatedly. We’re building homes there anyway.

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.”

Read the full story here.