Help Is “Just Not Coming”: A California Reporter on This Year’s Wildfires

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“They plan for the next day, provided all hell hasn’t broken loose—and all hell is breaking loose, so they throw things out all the time.”

Some experts in fire management have complained that in the Pacific Northwest, officials fight too many fires instead of letting them burn out, which can clear the landscape. This year, because of COVID, firefighters are redoubling their efforts to extinguish all the fires, despite the shortage of workers.

So they’re actually trying to put out more fires faster so that they don’t have them in the field as long.I’m wondering what we can learn from Australia and how Australia manages their fires differently than we do. Australia was leading the world in this, the idea of training people to defend their homes. And that’s very appealing to a lot of Americans who say, “I’m going to stand on my roof with the garden hose.” It doesn’t work like that. You have to understand the science of it, the fire behavior of it, and your situation. You just can’t suddenly be empowered to do this. You need that training.Get out now. No one can stand in front of this fire. Do not stayIt’s too catastrophic.

I talked to a crew in Northern California. They planned a controlled burn, a very small one, to protect a community. They planned it, they advertised it, everyone knew, they started the fire—and everyone called their county supervisor and started screaming bloody murder. “Your smoke is destroying my son’s birthday party.” And so they had to stop it.

 

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Blame 🐺 for making excuses & dragging his feet. 🖤🍑

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