California governor won't block building in high-fire areas

Gov. Gavin Newsom says he doesn't want to block building near forested areas at high risk for wildfire because living near nature is embedded in California's ethos.

Newsom's comments came in an interview with The Associated Press.

Newsom suggested "de-emphasizing" building in high risk areas in a report he released Friday about California's growing wildfire threat. He says that was a loose suggestion aimed at starting a debate about how Californians can build smarter and closer to urban centers.

California's former top fire official Ken Pimlott said last year he thinks the state should consider blocking construction in high-risk areas.

Newsom says he doesn't want to take away land-use planning from local governments.

California suffered two of its deadliest and most destructive wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.

Dawn Kamber