Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yep, fire season is here

I got a call last night from a friend wanting to let me know not to worry about the smell of smoke that apparently was pretty strong. I hadn't gone outside. It was a hot day, and we were all a bit sick with a stomach bug.

I looked up the news to find out that a field near us had been on fire but had been put out. If had been put out, I would be able to sleep.

Shortly thereafter the news showed up to ask Dan how he felt about the fire. We didn't know much about it, and we are a little tired of press, so Dan told them he wouldn't talk on the record. They did BS for a short while, and the reporter asked him how he felt about the fire off the record. The guy said that the fire had burned some land and gotten close to a house, but no one had been hurt. Dan told him to look around. They are very different circumstances, and quite frankly the fact that nothing burned down and no one got hurt means that it was a pretty good night all things considered.

Kellen was having a hard time napping today, so we drove him around in the car. Eventually he passed out, so we drove some more and decided to check out the fire situation. We (wrongly) believed that the fire was somewhere near the sports complex and far enough away for me to feel safe. The fire was actually on the same hill as our fire, only 1/2-3/4 miles away. Are you kidding me?! And it burned a decent size plot of land.

This is the second fire in consecutive years. And the hill and surrounding land is still full of flammable brush and grass. I don't know what it will take for the city and the power company to decide that maintenance of that land is a priority. Where desert land interfaces with homes, there needs to be strict maintenance codes and ordinances to prevent devastating fires. I'm sure there are those that will argue that we shouldn't build there, but the reality is that most of this area was at some point a desert and that areas that are now green got that way by design. Unless we take some important measures to ensure that we green up these desert areas, the reality of another fire isn't just a fear, it's a possibility, and one that isn't necessarily remote. It makes me question our decision to rebuild here. It makes it more difficult for me to sleep at night. It makes me wonder if all the pandering over the last year and the concern shown by the city is real... or just an opportunity for positive PR. If the city is serious about cutting fire danger, they need to take serious measures. It's my hope they choose to do so.

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