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Saturday, October 27, 2007


Preparing for the next time

"Yes, fires are a part of life in California. No, that's no excuse for bad zoning, sprawl and a lack of preparedness." This was heading of an article titled, "Preparing for next time" in the Los Angeles times, published on October 27th.
Cities in California, like San-Diego, have sprawled out into remote, inaccessible, fire-prone canyons and forests. Bad zoning practises are to blame, the article says. As a result, there is a lack of protection for these residents. Cities like San-Diego do not have enough money to pay for the fire protection they require. The Cities are simply too sprawled out. The limited number of fire fighters and fire engines cannot cover the entire area of the sprawled out cities.
The article then mentions that residents in these areas commute farther, increasing carbon emissions, contributing to global warming, and worsening drought.
Personally, I would blame the southern California's climate rather than the residents that live in sprawl. I think anyone who lives in southern California needs to be aware that their house may some day end up in a fire, just like those in Florida or Louisiana may end up in a hurricane. The people who live in these fire prone areas take the risk of fire in exchange for the luxury of living on the edge of the city. I don't think any zoning practices would have prevented the wild fires and even if I had lost my house in the fire, changing zoning regulations would most likely not be on my mind when it comes to preventing wild fires in the future.

I'm just guessing. While the article you discuss seems to paint a picture that says cities should not allow people to live where they want to live, I suspect at least in some cases cities do not allow people to remove brush, etc. near the perimeters of their property because of an interest in keeping the natural stuff.
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