California

"California Bent on Rebuilding Despite Wildfire Risk"

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Arnold on fire

Oh California. You burn and burn—1,000 homes have gone up in flames since Thursday—and yet…

Visiting a mobile home park in the chaparral-covered foothills where 500 dwellings were leveled in the latest firestorm, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Sunday: "Every single time there is a fire like that we learn new things."…

Then:

"We want to let the people know that the state is with you, we're going to help to get your homes back and your structures back, to get your lives back," Schwarzenegger said.

Looks like the opposite is more likely true: Every time there's a fire, California does pretty much exactly the same thing.

More on the eternal recurrence of the California wildfires here, here, and here.

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  1. I know this is mean, but I was so hoping it would get Oprah’s palace.

  2. So Arnold’s take-home message from the gubment’s failure to fight fires is: build fire-proof homes…

  3. First they came for the asbestos roofs…

  4. Similarly, Florida continues to build as close to the coast as possible.

  5. as a libertarian i should wish harm to any property, but i was hoping all of montecito would burn (including oprah’s)

  6. i mean shouldn’t wish harm

  7. That story of Nick’s, “Burning Los Angeles”, has some bad html of something, because the first sentence does not compute.

  8. Of course, the recurrence of wildfires can only be the result of…GLOBAL WARMING (and ManBearPig).

  9. I feel bad for the trailer-park people. Disaster follows those communities.
    Maybe Oprah will buy all of them a new home.
    You get a mansion!”
    You get a mansion!”

  10. Why don’t they just cut down all the trees?

  11. “California Bent on Rebuilding Despite Wildfire Risk”

    Truth: On first reading, my eye actually edited out the word “Despite” in the headline. Now that’s. reading for the essence.

  12. Everybody thinks we’re so dumb for building in fire-prone areas, but what they don’t realize is that the fires are a limited phenomenon.

    In a couple of weeks mudslide season will start, and those of you who were scorning us Californians for building on fire-prone hillsides will have mud on your faces.

    We knows risk management real good!

  13. Shit like this, the Mississipppi flooding, hurricanes smashing into the Gulf Coast are all met with official cries of “Who could have forseen this? We will rebuild”. What they don’t say is “We’ll pay for it by taking money from citizens who know better than to build homes in the path of disasters inevitable natural occurances”.

    Nobody is held responsible for their own decisions anymore. Not on Wall Street, not in UAW union halls, not on the N.C. barrier islands, not in house’s they couldn’t flip before the bubble burst, and not in SOCAL brush country.

  14. If we replace everybody’s mobile home with a 12 foot diameter pre-cast concrete culvert, we can virtually eliminate the risk of both fire and tornado damage.

  15. The big lesson here is: clear the brush around your homes! Southern California has an ecology based on frequent brush fires, and a climate that supports it. Stop keeping your neighboring hills in pristine condition!

  16. Every time there’s a fire in California, we learn anew how stupid Californians are.

  17. “Every time there’s a fire in California, we learn anew how stupid Californians are.”
    Hey, my aunt’s from California, and she’s one of the sharpest people I know.

  18. J sub D,

    I’m forced to agree with your comment. Bright side is that for a little while everyone(or so I’m told) was given a notice of future insurance liabilities. After that, condo developers began buying up a lot of property along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as they were the only ones who could afford the insurance. Course, now most people who can get grandfathered into the old insurance premiums are paying the state rather than private insurers. I know for a fact that the Beau Rivage Casino is sitting on a plan to develop condos around their small craft harbor. I’m told they found out their deductible was roughly $1,000,000 and decided not to reopen or rebuild the small craft harbor.

  19. I say the same thing every time some town gets leveled by a tornado in the midwest.

  20. The prop 1a bullet train will create a vacuum of such intensity that the burning embers that start fires will be swept into the damp forests of Oregon.

  21. Move to Austin, it’s disaster free. Just far enough from the coast, just below tornado alley, no seismic events, no blizzards, no mudslides, no neighborhoods destroyed by fire.
    We need more people anyway, it’s kinda boring 😉

  22. I’m going to be contrarian and say I have no problem with rebuilding exactly where there are. I’m not big on govt money paying for it, but most of this is going to be private insurance (unlike, say, a house destroyed by flooding). And as others have alluded to, the only place on earth where you dwelling won’t eventually be destroyed due to the ravages and vagaries of nature looks to be the Giza Plateau.

  23. The rule in California is don’t build a house in the hills. The flat parts of the state never have issues with mudslides and fires. I’ve lived here all my life in various parts of the state and have never been affected by wild fire. But I also don’t have a mansion in the hills.

    This is the first one that even came close to a place I used to live (north orange county). But it still pretty much stayed up in the hilly areas that didn’t even have houses 25 years ago when I was growing up there. You don’t see the concrete covered valleys having these problems. Probably because they aren’t covered with dry brush.

    Anyway the “Californians are so stupid” comments are inevitable but keep in mind this is a gigantic state and these things really affect a limited number of people. It is not the disaster prone Armageddon people seem to think it is.

    A big earthquake every 10 years or so that mostly just damages the epicenter and yearly mudslides and forest fires that mostly effect rich people who build houses in stupid places isn’t so bad. I’ll take that over hurricane country any day.

  24. Dick Cheney has been indicted by a grand jury in some county in Texas, for his ownership role in a private prison firm implicated in inmate abuse.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6119394.html

    I read “Dick Cheney Indicted,” I think “war crimes,” then “shot somebody.” This is totally out of left field.

  25. Kolohe,

    I see your point but private insurance didn’t pay out shit for Katrina.

  26. “P Brooks | November 18, 2008, 7:47pm | #

    If we replace everybody’s mobile home with a 12 foot diameter pre-cast concrete culvert, we can virtually eliminate the risk of both fire and tornado damage.”

    You haven’t, by chance, started any new business that you would like to promote here have you?

  27. There’s that strange voice again.

    If you burn it, they will come.

  28. Move to Austin, it’s disaster free. Just far enough from the coast, just below tornado alley, no seismic events, no blizzards, no mudslides, no neighborhoods destroyed by fire.
    We need more people anyway, it’s kinda boring 😉

    Shhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s not boring and Barton Springs Pool is already too crowded in the summer! Don’t even get me started on the traffic!

  29. Why don’t they just cut down all the trees?

    Because that would destroy the habitat of the pests that destroy trees (and dead trees burn SOOOOOOO well). You can’t destroy the habitat of those poor bugs/fungi/what-the-fuck-ever.

  30. It is not the disaster prone Armageddon people seem to think it is.

    Like hell it isn’t – just you wait for the BIG ONE. Armageddon will seem like a fuckin pic-nic.

  31. I live in Yorba Linda, I was evacuated over the weekend. those who lost their homes will rebuild. they won’t be relying on the government to do so. they will do what Americans always do, they’ll stand up, dust themselves off, and rebuild. i know a few of the people who lost their homes, and i’ll tell you, these aren’t the kind of folks that are going to wait around for FEMA to do something.

  32. Every time there’s a fire, California does pretty much exactly the same thing.

    Yes, and every time there is a flood in Mississippi, and every time there’s a tornado in Kansas, and every time there’s a hurricane in Fla…..

    KG, click my name and scroll down to see what the fire looked like from the other side of Yorba Linda.

    BTW, it would have helped if the idiots in YL government had made sure that the fire hydrants PUMPED ACTUAL WATER.

  33. The flat parts of the state never have issues with mudslides and fires.

    Well that’s true now, but in 1938 all of the OC was under six feet of water. It is also instructive to note that the Spanish names that stuck with the land as it was settled were names like Arroyo de la Quema (Creek of the Burned) and Ca?ada del Incendio (Meadow of Fire) and the Anglicized: Wildfire Hollow.

  34. Why don’t they just cut down all the trees

    Ain’t no trees, except what we planted and those that grow in the river bottoms. The river bottoms that the government hasn’t paved that is.

  35. We also have two towns with the same name in California. Aqua Dulce, a bit north of Los Angeles, and Sweet Water, southeast of San Diego. Neither town has any water to spare.

  36. Gov. Shwarzenegger always gives his best lines while in the middle of post-apocalyptic landscapes.

  37. What’s the deal? Katie MW no heart Arnold no more?

  38. BTW, it would have helped if the idiots in YL government had made sure that the fire hydrants PUMPED ACTUAL WATER.

    Brawndo. It’s got what wildfires crave.

    Is the story that it was started by a college bonfire holding up?

  39. I’m surprised I haven’t seen an article that, while lamenting the disruption of people’s lives, claims this will help the economy.
    Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough.

  40. When I lived in Socal, I used to joke that California doesn’t really have weather as such; just the occasional natural disaster.

    Seriously: Huge housing tracts burn down year after year because they won’t clear brush away. Mudslides destroy whole streets-full of million-dollar McMansions built on mud hills because “the view” increased the price. Rain showers that would hardly be worth mentioning anywhere else become raging floods because the street and architecture engineers apparently never heard of drainage.

    It’s ridiculous. There really are a pack of idiots there. I’ve got little sympathy anymore.

  41. Is the story that it was started by a college bonfire holding up?

    I saw a couple of headlines on Google News about that.

    Was it a “kegger”? That would be such an awesome WIN for teen alcohol prohibition!

  42. Barton Springs Pool is already too crowded in the summer!

    Probably the best swimming in the country. A huge spring-fed (at some inconceivable rate) swimming hole with all the amenities, including UT coeds.

  43. Yes, and every time there is a flood in Mississippi, and every time there’s a tornado in Kansas, and every time there’s a hurricane in Fla…..

    Unlike floods, hurricanes, and wildfires in brush country, tornados are essentially random events. They have very limited geographic scope, very few places ever get hit by one, and practically none whatsoever get hit by a second one, ever. Take it from someone who grew up in tornado alley. They are simply not predictable, reoccurring events in any one locale.

  44. That’s it. No mansions for any of you!

  45. Is the story that it was started by a college bonfire holding up?

    Not the Yorba Linda fires. They’re pretty sure it wasn’t arson, although I think it was. Fire started at the base of Prado Dam on the Santa Ana River and was likely sparked by hot exhaust from the rush hour traffic that was just sitting on the nearby freeway.

  46. They are simply not predictable, reoccurring events in any one locale.

    True enough, but there’s a reason why you refer to growing up in Tornado Alley. 😉

  47. Apparently the bonfire story is accurate. Can’t believe anyone is that stupid. It wasn’t a kegger it was a bunch of Jesus Freaks. Got Dam Christians!

  48. Bonfire + Montecito Fire that is.

    Dam shame too, Montecito is absolutely beautiful. Even without the rich people. Well, it was beautiful.

  49. Joel: actually, the rainfall rate here in rainstorms has been recorded as the greatest in the USA. It’s not just regular light rain or anything. There’s also not much to soak it up.

    The Santa Ana river is also I believe still considered the biggest flood risk west of the Mississippi, at least potentially. All those mountains for the rain to unload on and such a short, fast distance to the ocean. That’s why those gigantic empty concrete riverbeds the Army Corps of Engineers built up.

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