[env-trinity] The Mercury News: The reason that California wildfires are worse than ever

Kim mattson at EcosystemsNorthwest.com
Tue Aug 7 12:47:05 PDT 2018

I really enjoyed this thread and value the comments I have read. I think 
it is very important to have this discussion.

I read or interpreted the posts as building houses in forest areas is 
problematic as they create a greater need to fight fires to save those 
houses and not necessarily that the houses themselves create fires... 
the location of these homes create a greater need to fight the fires and 
a greater economic loss when they burn.

I also have this story to contribute that you may find interesting to 
read.  My son is a Cal-fire fire fighter.  He told me a story about 
fighting a fire as a member of his four-man engine crew at night on a 
ridgetop (I can't recall exactly where but it was about 2 years ago). 
They were protecting a nice house built on that ridge top.  The fire got 
too close and actually came up quickly so they were slow to retreat.  
They jumped in the fire engine and he said the fire swept up and hit the 
passengers side window with a blast where he was sitting.  He said they 
have extra strong glass and the window held.  If it had broken, he said 
the temperatures likely would have immediately collapsed their tracheas 
and presumable the four man crew would have died.  They backed out 
leaving their hoses to burn.  They hit the owners car on the way out, 
but were safe. They were able to go back in and save the house.  The 
engine had scorched paint... and there was a meeting and discussion 
about it the next day....so I guess you call that a close call.   Every 
so often I think about that story and wonder as I look up at really nice 
homes built into the forest on slopes... I would probably want to live 
there too if I could afford it...on the other hand, I have neighbors 
around me where we live on the edge of town... I have lived further out 
before but I now I like living around people better and closer in to the 
town area... I get to know my neighbors and I enjoy their company.  So, 
the way I look at it is there is actually a number of social benefits to 
not living in the forest zones besides the fire fighting problems it 
creates.  We are planning a small neighborhood party this month...

If you elected me the king, I would pass a law that those that still 
wish to build in the fire zones further out could do so, but would pay 
an extra fee or tax that would discourage some building and would help 
to pay for the costs of fire fighting.  Economist often say that this 
sort of cost accounting is an effective way to change behaviors and 
still allows some level of choice.    But for now, if I lived further 
out in a fire zone, I would try to think through how I am going to 
behave once a fire appears.

Kim Mattson

Mount Shasta, CA

On 8/6/2018 8:35 PM, kristi bevard wrote:
> My two cents.
> Many opinions are being expressed about fires, responders and land use 
> planning in California.
> Many contributing factors to fires in California exist. It makes no 
> sense to chastise others for choosing to live near the forest. 1. As 
> it turns out, some of the most devastating fires in Trinity were 
> caused by government sponsored agencies burning meadows during a dry, 
> windy day.
> 2. If some folks remember the Santa Rosa fire, all of the incinerated 
> homes (with the exception of a few wineries) were in subdivision 
> designed neighborhoods, not wildland fire hazard areas.
> 3. We, who pay insurance, pay for all catastrophes, including 
> disasters caused by flooding, tornadoes and other maladies. For those 
> of us who live in the forest, our insurance is extremely limited.
> 4.  There are many reasons why our lands are burning;
> A) little or no weed control from asphalt shoulder to 12 ft inland on 
> both sides of all roads
> B) people who improperly chain up when pulling a trailer
> C) people who toss lit cigarettes out of their windows, into dry grass
> D) transients who have unattended, out of season fires to keep warm
> E) lightening strikes
> F) people driving after their tire has shredded and their rim throws 
> flames into dry grass which was never cut by the state, county or fed.
> The list above are some reasons we are on fire. Stop making 
> generalized judgements about people who live in the country or the 
> forest. Living here doesn't cause fires.
> Trust me when I say; we pay for the privilege in spades.
> Kristi A Bevard
> Former TAMWG member
> Trinity County Resident
> On Sun, Aug 5, 2018, 18:26 Denise Boggs 
> <denise at conservationcongress-ca.org 
> <mailto:denise at conservationcongress-ca.org>> wrote:
>     The National Forests aren’t the problem. It’s people living in
>     areas they shouldn’t be. Interesting stats on CA and the wildfires
>     throughout the state over time. Some of these areas have burned
>     multiple times and people keep rebuilding in the same place. The
>     state’s landscape is prone to fires and they are going burn
>     regardless. Climate change only makes it worse.
>     “The Carr Fire burning in Shasta County was started by a single
>     spark from a towed trailer on a road in Whiskeytown National
>     Recreation Area. It then quickly raced into high-end new
>     residential subdivisions such as Lake Redding Estates, where it
>     destroyed 65 upscale homes.”
>     *The reason that California wildfires are worse than ever*
>     The Mercury News
>     As California grows, people are moving into the rural edges of
>     cities where we weren't before -- creating an "expanding bull’s
>     eye’ effect" of higher wildfire risk, according to a new study by
>     geographer Stephen M. Strader of Villanova University. Read the
>     full story <https://apple.news/AO3JyVOhZQvS4W7C_ou3raQ>
>     Denise Boggs
>     Www.conservationcongress-ca.org
>     <http://Www.conservationcongress-ca.org>
>     "Some of them were angry at the way the Earth was abused; By the
>     men who learned how to forge her beauty into power; And they
>     struggled to protect her from them, only to be confused; By the
>     magnitude of the fury in the final hour."
>     'Before the Deluge' Jackson Browne
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