I have read many of the comments to the Statesman articles. I know I shouldn't. The people who comment don't have a clue as to what really happened or how the land was maintained. But one of the comments made me think this last week. I'm addressing it here because I think that many people have probably had similar thoughts.
We live right next to the power sub station. Off of the hillside are giant metal power poles. Our neighbor's two-story high pitched roof barely covers the poles. And they dance across a field from giant pole to giant pole. It was my only concern about moving into this neighborhood. I wasn't worried about the field catching fire. I was mostly concerned about the electromagnetic fields (especially because of my belief in how affected we can be by energy fields).
A lot of people have privately (or at least not directly) commented about our decision to live near the power lines. I wish they would ask us directly, but that's irrelevant at this point. The first answer I have is that every neighborhood has some inherent risk. Why would you live that close to the canal? In a flood plane? On an active fault line? We can only minimize risk so much. But the thing that I've been thinking about lately is the reality that the power pole that sparked the fire is one of the small wooden poles. It is no different from the one you have in your neighborhood. It wasn't the giant line connected to the sub. Rebuilding here is no more dangerous than building in a neighborhood that accesses power (other than maybe the fact that fire goes faster uphill).
I hope that provides a little clarification. There are other things that should be clarified but for one reason or another, we're not able to do that. Just know that everything you read isn't the whole story.