Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 7:39 AM

California Burning: ‘The New Normal’?

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

As fire crews struggled to gain containment on more than a dozen wildfires raging across California Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters that large, destructive fires would probably continue and cost the state billions of dollars over the next decade. …

State officials said more than 13,000 firefighters are currently on duty, fighting 16 large fires that have burned a total of 320,000 acres and displaced more than 32,000 residents.

(The Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2018)

To date, 1,018 homes have been destroyed. And the fires are still threatening over 17,000. But, miraculously, only 8 people have been killed.

Governor Brown is sounding the alarm about this becoming “the new normal.” But it’s already the norm.

After all, here is what I wrote about these recurring fires a decade ago in “California Burning … Again,” November 17, 2008:

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No region has been more affected by the synergistic fallout from plummeting real-estate values and subprime mortgages than California. But these ‘apocalyptic’ fires might be a godsend for hundreds, if not thousands, of homeowners – who were facing imminent foreclosure on their McMansions. Because they can simply walk away from the charred remains and blame force majeure (i.e., an act of God) for not paying another red cent!

(“California’s Fiery Katrina,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 25, 2007)

Well, it’s deja vu all over again – as apocalyptic fires have returned to California.

No doubt you’ve heard about celebrities like Oprah Winfrey watching helplessly as temperamental fires threatened to destroy their homes in the wealthy California enclave of Montecito.

But it is worth noting that the vast majority of the more than 800 homes that have already been destroyed belong to ordinary people in far less affluent neighborhoods.

Therefore, whatever indifference (or schadenfreude) it evokes in you to watch obscenely rich folks lose some of their material possessions, please bear in mind that it’s relatively poor folks who are losing everything they own …

My prayers are with all those who have been affected, as well as those who remain in harm’s way.

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Ditto.

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