The Fire This Time

Here in southern California, we are currently living through our annual late August-early September ritual of wildfires.  In the San Fernando Valley, where I live, the air is heavy with smoke, and people are staying inside.  It was worse in Pasadena, where I attend a Quaker meeting, and where the houses of several Friends are in danger of going up in flames.  The advantage this year is that the Santa Ana winds have not come in yet.

But it is somewhat misleading for me to say that this is an annual ritual.  It has only been that over the last few years.  When I was growing up, brushfire danger loomed every summer: nowadays, it happens.  It’s not if the fires come, but when.

One might say, of course, that this is what happens when the world heats up, and the scientific studies suggest as much.  But I’m sure it’s really all just a complete coincidence whipped up by notorious left-wing radicals.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “The Fire This Time”

  1. Rick Halsey discussing the fire and chaparral biome on local NPR this morning. He mentions the intensity of the fire is due to 10-year drought, the rugged terrain and a long period between burns. The latter, he says, is normal. The areas that burn and burn again (as has happened with terrible consequences recently in San Diego and Orange Counties) are areas dominated by invasive plants. The interview was very good.

    http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2009/08/31/special-9am-fire-coverage/

    Also

    http://www.californiachaparral.com/

    I’m not saying that climate change isn’t playing a role. We don’t know where climate change comes in. That, in a way, is even more unsettling.

    What we can do now is better land planning–agricultural buffers between fire-prone wildlands and development, for example. Aggressive control of invasive plants, too.

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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