Paradise Lost

California is experiencing its deadliest wildfire on record (Los Angeles Times).

Feather River, California (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The so-called Camp fire began on November 8 and has been burning since.  At the moment, it is only 75% contained (The Mercury News).

(Swetha Kannan / Los Angeles Times)

Fortunately, rain is finally on the way, though this may bring dangers of flooding and mudslides, especially in burned-out areas that have lost ground cover.

From Weather Underground

While this fire may have been spectacular in its destructiveness, it seems to represent a trend rather than an aberration.   There now seems to be a recurring fire season in the Pacific Northwest that is qualitatively different from fire seasons of recent past decades.  It feels as if something has changed–as if this is somehow the new normal.

Is it climate change (NYT)?  Are we not cutting down enough trees?  Are we building too close to natural burn areas?  And, anyway, what should we do about it?  How do we solve it?  Should we do more to design buildings to survive wildfires?  Should we force people who want to live in wildfire-prone areas to live in super fire-resistant homes?

Fran Collin

Maybe we could incentivize land-owners to cut down more of their trees (Santa Cruz Sentinel).  Still, it seems you can’t cut all the trees down.  And, the cost of living in California is now so outrageous that people trying to escape the economic burden of the major metropolitan regions may have few options other than to head for the hills and hope for the best.  But, where will they go when the hills are on fire?

What do you think?  I have no take on this one, at least not yet.  Do you?  Leave a comment and maybe we can figure it out.

They looking back, all th’ Eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late thir happie seat,
Wav’d over by that flaming Brand, the Gate
With dreadful Faces throng’d and fierie Armes:

–John Milton, Paradise Lost

By Thomas Cole – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Public Domain, Link
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