San Diego Soliloquies

Sunday, August 10, 2003

As The Burning Season Begins

We natives of California have a joke that we use with our Eastern and Midwestern friends. "Of course we have seasons in California", we say. "We call them Fire, Flood, Earthquake and Drought".

This afternoon I pondered, as I watched fire chitter and roar away the dry brush around condominiums on the ridgeline opposite us, how much the fire equipment over there cost. The City and County of San Diego do not have a permanent helicopter to respond to small wildfires before they become big ones. They lease one during the height of the fire season and California Department of Forestry keeps equipment down here during the same period. Thank God, because that and favorable winds kept this afternoon's fire to about 35 acres. Otherwise you would have heard about this tragedy by now, because we are building ever closer to wildlands, amongst chaparral and eucalyptus that I have seen explode into flames like they were gasoline tanks fused with hand grenades. But the view is lovely most of the time ...

So Tierrasanta was saved this time, but we've had two major wildfires in the past few years during winter, the Alpine and Fallbrook fires. As the world gets whipsawed by climate change the benighted among us don't believe in, the old rules about when to anticipate fires change too.

We barely have enough money to keep CDF on staff through November, knowing full well that we rarely get substantial rains in the state before December. We are entering the height of the season for the state, and it may well continue to the end of the year. Too bad we're pissing away $45 million dollars on recalling the governor. When we inevitably lose some houses, or worse, lives, we can remember and take comfort in the fact that we sure as hell proved to the world that 1.6 million of us are too stupid to be governable.


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San Diego Soliloquies