The Manmade Causes Of California's Endless Fire Season


This message comes from on point sponsor, indeed if you're hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes set up screener questions than zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started at indeed dot com slash NPR podcast. From wwl Boston and NPR, I'm Meghna, chucker birdie. And this is on point Nicole jolly works at a hospital in paradise California last week, the state's most deadly wildfire forced jolly and the entire town to evacuate. This is what she saw the lights in front of me on the vehicle in front of me. There were melting and I called my husband, and I'm crying hysterically. And I said Nick, I'm going to die. I can't get out of my car. It's on fire. I'm going to die. And he says don't die run. Most of paradise was reduced to ashes in. What's become California's deadliest ever fire, in fact, in little over a year, the state has endured record breaking fires the deadliest the most costly and the largest in state history. That's why California governor Jerry Brown says this is the new normal. This is the new abnormally and this normal. We'll continue continue because of climate change development land use management, a whole host a complex web of causes. The have one thing in common human activity this hour on point what can be done about California's seemingly endless fire season. And you can join us have these fires affected you or your family or someone, you know in California. How can we prevent these kinds of fires at seemed to grow more deadly more devastating every year or if they're inevitable? Oh, yes. Wildfires are part of the natural landscape in much of America. But how can we mitigate the effects? Join us anytime at point radio dot org or on Twitter and Facebook at on point radio. We'll joining us. I today from northern California the site of the massive campfire as it's called is deputy chief, Scott McLean McLean. Excuse me. He is chief of information for the California Department of forestry and fire protection or Cal fire and he joins us from Chico, California. Scott mclean. Welcome to on point. Thank you. Thank you so much for taking some time to to join us today. First of all, can you just tell us sort of what is the status of the campfire right now? Did increase where the courses night or at two hundred twenty five thousand acres. Thirty percent contained and the containment has gone up. So that's good news even mind that it's very rugged terrain that these firefighters are having to deal with right now as well as the weather into certain aspects, but the weather is looking progressively much better as the days go on now the red tide. Worrying temp cancelled minimum watching the news this morning. We're looking probably three to five mph winds over most of the fire some gusts up to fifteen on other parts. So that's a lot less than there was before. Okay. Vegetation is still extremely dry humidity's continued to climb. We're getting really call humidity recovery over the course of nights when there's a little bit more moisture in the air, which impedes the fire as well. So can you tell us a little bit about what this fire is like I mean, we heard that clip a little earlier from Nicole jolly. Resident in paradise about how close she came. To dying because of the fire. We know that they'll fire has claimed the lives of dozens of people. I mean, how large is it? How hot is it? I mean, have you seen anything like this in your experience? No, I was in the middle of it. The first day was while the firefighters and law enforcement. It was nighttime. It basically night day turn into night starting about nine o'clock in the morning. And that's where it stayed for the rest of the day into the night, of course times. He just could not see you know in those in front of your face. It was that smokin. I have to say if you don't mind me saying, I you you and your fellow firefighters are working so hard. I can hear the fatigue in your voice right now. So our our firefighters getting the support they need are there. Enough people. Tell us a little bit about that. Overall as far as we're getting sixteen between sixteen and seventeen states are sending us resources into the state of California earlier this year about the same. So and we had own up just under fourteen thousand individuals assigned to the fires earlier on this year. We're dealing with basically three fires down the down. The too far is the Wilby and the and the campfire. Of course, we're going to see a lot more resources containing to come in to support us. The firefighters definitely are giving it their all they know what it's at stake. And they wanna take care of that situation are mitigated ASAP for the public that we are. Yeah. Mr. McClean one more question for you. Does it is it fair to say that it seems as if California now has crossed into having a fire season that doesn't end we don't have the fire season. There's no season anymore. Meaning meaning what year round we have on average that folks don't realize right now and not a part of this year. We have roughly anywheres from a hundred to two hundred wildland fire starts every week on average, and those are kept relatively small ten acres or less. So it's a constant battle right now. I believe it last week. We bought one hundred Mary Thursday. We're about one hundred eleven starts. I'll be getting the stance on again this morning on what we're looking at us whereas today up to date. So it's a constant fight. What's that doing to the state? In reference to. Well. I mean is it. I mean, California's a huge important state, but I it can can the state cope with being in a in a endless fire season. It's difficult, and I'm not gonna you know, make it any less important. We ought to work together. It's a team effort due to the public law enforcement. Ours hers is up and down the state, we have tastic system in place called master mutual aid system. Unfortunately, we keep using it. You know every bonds, which we didn't. So the protection these their resources are there and can respond and from out of state we keep proving the country as well. So it's hard to say no forestry department as well. And counselor is preventions a big part of this as well. Continue trying to company air force back through zillions resiliency, you know, doing prescribed burns doing feel reduction projects, I'm married a different things. But keep in mind to the drought from two thousand twelve to two thousand seventeen it really hasn't stopped. Honestly, right. We're looking at a run in twenty nine million dead trees, plus that we're contending with as well. So through the bark beetles, you lack nutrients in the soil and to feed the the vegetation. So it's just an ongoing thing we need significant winters for several years to come to bring back onto that plot plateau as far as making armed force healthy curbing, these wildland fires along with our prevention projects. Well, Scott McLean is deputy chief and chief of information for the California Department of forestry and fire protection or Cal fire. Speaking to us today from Chico, California, Mr. McLean. Thank you so much. Thank you to all the firefighters who are working hard to protect people in California. And thank you for taking some time to talk with us. Thank you. All right. Well, as you heard deputy chief mclain say they are fighting as he said hundreds of fires every week now of of various scales in California, we've been talking about what's happened in paradise California, not far just a little bit east of where deputy McLean was in Chico, California, most of paradise burned to the ground eighty percent of it gone. And in an interview with Sacramento TV station, Katie XL, just yesterday paradise mayor Jodi Jones described the scope of the devastation. It's pretty devastating. He's huge. I would say ninety percent of our homes are gone. On the entire town council. Lost their homes on half of our police department. Most of our talent ministry staff. Just about every friend. I know. Where for somebody to have a place to go home to ES? It is it is rare. That's Jodi Jones, the mayor of paradise California. Joining us now from Sacramento is Ryan Lewis reporter for the Sacramento bee. He's covered most of northern California's fires for the past twelve years, and he joined us by the way in August for an update on the Mendocino complex fire and other fires across the Golden State earlier this summer, he joins us again. Ryan welcome back to the show. Hi, they grabbing me. So first of all, I mean, I you heard deputy chief Scott McLean there. I just was really taken by the sound of the weariness in his voice, California as a whole must be exhausted by the what seems like an endless fire season now. Yeah. Absolutely there fires as you said in southern California as well. Here's Sacramento, you know, an hour and a half away from paradise schools are being canceled. The smoke, but it's really not where near what they're experiencing in paradise, and then Chico, and you know, this think it's paradise last summer. It was reading California and lake ports. The year before that, it was Santa Rosa. These aren't tiny towns that no one's heard of these are places that many many people in northern California have deep connections to and there that are being devastated every year. So that's one of the big differences that we're seeing in recent years that the fires are all I mean, people have always been at risk. But now, we're having like you said larger cities towns being effective of affected, but places like paradise though, for example, even had wildfire. Evacuation plans set up if I understand correctly in paradise. They were the plan was to evacuate the town in sections, but this fire the campfire moves so fast and sent so many members of miles ahead of it that that they're vacuous. The plan fell apart. Yeah. It just it overwhelmed. The talent in two thousand eight I was there to summer of two thousand eight they had two fires was actually Cal fire still refers to it as two thousand eight siege. Where Sears lightning storm set off a dozen. The fires northern California in two of them came right up to the border paradise destroyed some towns, some I'm sorry, some houses and kind of the world areas. And after that the town leaders got together they split paradise into geographic zones several zones and a thought was that we would they would back at one zone at a time zones at a time when a fire was approaching they also held Bach evacuations during rush hour, they closed down streets. They there's only four ways out of town to the south toward safety for roads. And a basically opened up one to traffic in both directions during rush hour to do this evacuation. I taught him next over the weekend. Who said they were asked prepared or more prepared any town. He's ever heard. In northern California. But this fire boop through that town, so fast. It didn't even burn the trees and just went from house to house and lengthy said level eighty ninety percent of the town. Well, Ryan Lewis reporter for the Sacramento bee. Ryan thank you so much for joining us today. We're talking about California's now endless fire season. Why climate change human development land use management all of it is contributing to a new abnormal in California across much of the west. We'll be back with more. I'm begging Tucker Bharti. This is on point. I'm Linda Holmes. There's more stuff to watch these days than you can ever get too. That's why we make pop culture happy hour twice a week. We give you the lowdown on what's worth your time. And what's not find pop culture? Happy hour on the NPR one app or wherever you get your podcasts. This is on point a magnitude birdie. We're talking about California's now year round fire season. The state is battling its deadliest. Fires right now having killed the campfire having killed in northern California. Having already killed dozens of people destroyed more than six thousand buildings. It's sort of the confluence of lots of factors climate change human development land, use management, even local micro weather patterns long-term drought in California all coming together to produce a new reality in the west that you can look at it from this point of view say this is climate change come home to roost right here in our own backyard. I mean, listen to how Greg Brock he's a resident in point Dume, California. He left his home on Friday to escape the woozy fire in southern California. His house was fine. But he told NPR's all things considered yesterday, the devastation in his neighborhood was brutal entire streets are just leveled. And there was. At one point. There was a huge diesel truck, and is molten disa- flow of molten metal behind it about ten twelve feet. The fire was so hot and there'd be four houses gone, then one fine. And then four houses gone, and it was bad the whole hill. Everything has gone. That's Greg Brock in southern California. And we want to hear from you. What do you think? How do we manage this new reality of a forever fire season in California and much of the American west how does climate change and where we choose to build our cities and our towns in our homes factor into all of this. And of course, the president brought up forest management. What's your view on the rule that that has to play in the American west? And joining me now from Thousand Oaks, California is Glenn McDonald. He's professor of geography and ecology at the university of California, Los Angeles. He spent decades studying climate change and the effects of wildfires. He and his family evacuated from their homes just last week because of the Wolsey fire in southern California. Professor macdonald. Welcome to on point. Professor MacDonald are you there? Well, we'll see if we can connect with him shortly. We're also join today from Berkeley, California by j Keith Gillis. He is a professor of forest economics at the university of California Berkeley, he's chair of the California board of forestry and fire protection. That's cal. Fire's policy-board. Jacob gillis. Welcome to you. Hello. Hi. So first of all, tell us your view of the scale of the fires right now in California, all the all the descriptions, we've seen in heard put them amongst the the states bloodiest and deadliest is is that right? Oh, absolutely. It's a real tragedy. So I mean, how how would you describe how we got to this place? It seems as if year after year now during every fire season the season gets longer, and we and we kept keep talking about the deadliest of the biggest the largest is the trajectory only going to go in one way. The trajectory for the risk. We face from climate change will go in one way at least for our lifetime. But some of this is under our control, the weather isn't, but dealing with the way that we move into the wild lands creating wildland urban interface in the zone, and and building codes that we use their the way in which we fund or simply rely on the market to do vegetation management to reduce the fuel loading. That's under our control the degree to which we come up with better ways to notify people and evacuate them. We're I think Cal fire desert some real credit the last couple of years for doing a good job on providing actionable information. In concert with local officials. But you know, the fatalities are normally in the early parts of the fire. And so we can always do better. I think on notification. Certainly we've had reason to doubt whether reliance on optin notification systems is really going to provide the the leverage we need. Okay. So festival Gillis. If we can I was wondering if we could just sort of zero in on on couple of different areas that are contributing to the ever growing fire season or I mean as as we heard the the deputy fire chief for Cal fire. Tell us earlier the year round viruses, and now in California. I mean, first of all, let's just let's just go right at what President Trump, you know, a tweeted a little while back that he says forest management or bat in his view, bad bad management is part of the problem here, your your reaction to that your evaluation of that. I believe I said in one interview that that comment was at best uninformed and the lead-in for your show today. Talked about the complexity of the situation it is too complex to reduce to a tweet. The fact that roughly sixty percent of the forests in the state are under federal management, whereas the board I chair rights. I think the toughest forest practice rules in the country dealing only with private land says already it's a complex policy environment. There is something close to a consensus. It is not a complete consensus in the forestry community that. Our Forrester overstocked, right? And that creates some real policy issues because we're also looking in California to lead the nation on climate policy, and you refer looking to forests as a possible way to sa- question carbon. You have to balance their ability to sequester carbon and standing forests with the fact that the the higher the stocking the greater the fire risk to that carbon. It's on the landscape. So we have competing social objectives. Here that make this not exactly a straightforward solution. We we we're gonna find our way forward, but there's public safety there's climate policy. There's protection of wildlife habitat protection of watercourses. It's it's it's pretty complex. I mean, so just just so, you know, I grew up in the state to the north of you. I grew up in Oregon. So I've got some. Miliary with the complexity around forest management here, and you know, the sort of a top level criticism that you touched on that people have had for some time. Is you know, that overstocked forest issues that perhaps, you know, we haven't some people think we haven't been leading enough, you know, clearing of trees or sort of selected targeted reduction of the amount of fuel. But the the thing I'm wondering though, is that that is part of the picture perhaps in places like like northern California. But in southern California, we're not talking about forests per se. Right. We're talking about brushed and scrubland. But that's also loaded with you know, so you're not gonna just cut all that down. But it's still loaded with this incredibly dry fuel that's high volume, and like, you know, like Tinder of for because of a drought that the state's been undergoing for years. Oh, that's that's absolutely true. And lumping it all as a forestry problem apoe. Opposed to a fire management problem is is really overly simplistic, and what you would like the role of fire to be on the landscape is quite different in different parts of the state. The fire return interval in a wet forest. Like a Redwood forest on the north coast is very different than the fire return interval, perhaps in the Sierra, Nevada where these fires are taking place where you know. Fire return interval of seven to twelve years would be about the right return interval weather from fire or through vegetation management to serve as a surrogate for fire in southern California. There are some of the shrub land ecosystems where the natural fire return on oval is much longer because of the marine influence and repeated fire on the landscape can actually be quite damaging to some of those chaperone systems right on the coast. It's a little different inland. So you need a locally nuanced solution. And. Frankly, you're gonna run into whether it's a mechanical treatment to reduce the fuel loading or reintroducing fire. We have the Clean Air Act and California has real challenges with managing the era, and that whole issue of whether or not it's it's better from a public health standpoint have a burst of particulates with fires or have a level of non attainment, but lower because of sort of spread out prescribed fire activity is still an open one at right wasn't one ever envisioned by the congress when it passed the Clean Air Act. Well, professor Gil stand by here for just a second. Because it looks like now we have Glenn McDonald on the line with us from Thousand Oaks, California, as I mentioned, he's a professor of geography and ecology at the university of California, California, Los Angeles, and he and his family had to evacuate their homes last week because of the Wolsey fire in southern California. So. Professor mcdonald. Are you with us? Now, I am indeed with you. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us on. I'm sorry about the technical glitch that we suffered their Cup for a couple of minutes. But tell us first of all you just had to evacuate last week. What was that like? Well, you know, you so to study these things and and look at this. But when it actually happens to you, I'm suddenly becomes very very real. We had been at the vigil for the for the twelve people were killed at the borderline shooting here and came home, and we're in bed in about eleven twenty at night. We all of a sudden all our phone started ringing, including my daughters who doesn't live with us anymore in adult with a voluntary evacuation order. I took a look we could see the red of the glow on the ridge line behind our home. And I said, okay, this is serious, and we started to pack, and we had a plan in people should have a plan grabbed grabbed what we could put it in there. We then made sure that everyone was safe and out in my son in Aydin went back. Now, we were under mandatory evacuation, and we sealed up all the vents leading into our attic, the reason being is this is one of the major reasons that structures burn is that embers get sucked into the attic spaces. They sit there unnoticed, and then they they cost the house to burn out from the inside. And at that point the police who traveling around in basically using you know, their PA systems on their vehicles to tell everyone to get out. The the glow was much much brighter. It'd come to the backyards of some of our friends and our friends indeed evacuated with us and stayed at my son's house with us. And and then we just had to ride it out. And and you realize that you know, you sort of need a plan and we're very fortunate. We're in a semi suburban setting. So there's lots of different routes to get out. But you also realize that in some of the canyons in places where you have limited routes to get out how quickly this goal happen house. Your house. Professor MacDonald, Dino. Yes. Okay. So house is your house still standing, oh, I'm sure you are house. Our house is standing, and we're very very pleased about that. The the couple that evacuated with us their houses standing they lost their fence. But their neighbors house is completely gone. And this is the way it happens in this sort of urban wildland interface, particularly when the fire then enters into what we would consider more suburban landscape, it it becomes eight becomes less predictable in some census. You know? It's what your landscaping is held flammable. It is if I can get into your attic space, so you'll have rows of houses, which are fine. And then there'll be a house, which live on fire cases. Santa Rosa those houses then with the tubs fire they serve is sort of fire inoculation sources houses burn really hot. If they're close together. They throw a lot of embers the landscaping. Round your house is vulnerable. Ben that the house it started burning at the end of your block is the one that leads to your house burning professor MacDonald and professor Gillis. I wanna play a little bit of tape here because we were talking with professor Gillis a minute ago about the role that land use management both on forests and other types of land in the west of the that's playing in these devastating fires, but also beyond that, let's just talk about climate change because at a press conference on Sunday, California, governor Jerry Brown said that federal and state governments have to do more when it comes to land use management, but that climate change is a greater cause of these problems. All the forests in every way, we can does not stop climate change. And those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that were now witnessing and we'll continue to witness professor MacDonald. How is climate change or? What role is climate change playing in in California's endless fire season. Now, if we go back to what Scott said our fire season, particularly in southern California. This wouldn't be too in the higher elevations of the Sierra or something. But in southern California it is a year round fire season. And and you know in the twentieth century we did have late season fires and things like that. But we are getting fires now in January February things like that. What we can see is a fifteen of the twenty largest wildfires in the state of occurred since the year two thousand this has been in tandem with increasing temperatures and with record-breaking temperatures, and what we've done is. We've extended that fire season. Remember we have climate where we get our precipitation in the winter. And then for most of the state extremely dry summer, which allows your fuels then to dry out, and they become progressively drier. As you move through the summer season. Well, imagine with higher temperatures spring comes earlier that process of drying becomes f-. You know, earlier the higher temperatures that were experiencing accelerates that process of drawing, and then this is important for areas like southern California where we have the Santa Ana winds these large wins. Gusty winds set that develop in the fall in early winter or northern California their counterpart the Diablo wins. The dryer that fuel is at that time of year with those winds the more volatile situation, and then the high temperatures keep the fire season longer into the fall, which for us in southern California with San Addison diablo's mean, we're facing our greatest threat being extended right further into the winter. It really is triple whammy I'm also seeing here. I mean that in that there's at least some some studies that point that to the fact that northern California's climate is getting warmer such that it may match current day southern California temperatures by the end of this decade. Well, you know, this this remains to be season seeing the rate of climate warming in places like the south west is seems to be remarkably fast and seems to have excel A-Rated. Now, we have to look at you know, there's a combination of increasing greenhouse gases, and there's a certain degree of of natural variability. So I think we'll have to wait and see. But it certainly the case that as we move towards the end of the century. We're going to see us in a sense shifting of these fire danger zones. If I might say, this is the problem with the concept will this is the new normal or the new abnormal. This isn't a stationary target. We haven't arrived at the station yet. This train is continuing to move. And as we pump more co two and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is temperatures rise. This is going to exacerbate the situation. So we ain't seeing the end of this yet, professor Gillis. We've just got about thirty seconds here before the break. But I wanted to bring you back in here. What do you? What's your response? What professor McDonald's saying he's right on point. We can't assume anything static about the environment. We're in it's been changing long before there were people here in it'll change because of our activities and climate is they influence climate change. All right. Well, when we come back from a quick break. We'll talk about maybe, you know, targeted things that we can do about this. I'm speaking with j Gillis and Glenn McDonald, they're both professors in California. We're talking about California's now year round fire season. It's not really limited to California much of the American west has to deal with this. So what do you think what can we do to mitigate and manage? What's professor? Mcdonald's is talked about as a moving target. I Magnin taco bardy. This is on point. More than twenty years. That's how long Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar abused. The girls and women who came to see him for treatment believed a new podcast from Michigan radio and NPR digs into how he got away with it for so long. This is on point. I'm Meghna chucker bardy. We're talking about the massive wildfires burning in California right now and what's turning into California's year round fire season. I'm joined today by Glenn McDonald. He's a professor of geography and a college at the university of California, Los Angeles end by j Keith Gillis. He's a professor of forest economics at the university of California, Berkeley, we're looking at climate change and land, use management and human development, all of these things put together leading California to where it is now facing devastating fire after fire. What can we do about it professors McDonald and Gillis let me just let some callers in here because they've been very patient thus far. So let's go to Jim who's calling from Detroit. Michigan. Jim you're on the air. Hello. I used to live in southern California and northern California and still have relatives at both ends one or two questions. I have for Dr McDonnell, and Dr Gillis's, what do you think about expanding the use of goats in the urban wildland interface for vegetation management, ever, deuce Bulow? Jim, thanks for your call. Professor gillis. Let me start with you. What do you think? We'll sure goats on a per acre basis or pretty expensive. But they have great social acceptance, and there are applications where putting fire from the landscape is never going to be socially acceptable. They use goats right here within a mile of where I'm sitting up at Lawrence, Berkeley, National Laboratory. And so there is a role for them. But it's it's a rather high cost solution. Right. Well, so to the point about sort of broader scale land management. We have a lot of listeners online who want to ask the. Simple question, for example, J someone calling himself. Jay on Twitter says ask about the history of fire and force management for decades. The strategy was to prevent all fires to prevent wildfires. Not understanding or perhaps denying that fire is a natural part of the ecosystem now too much growth with climate change. It's drier and hotter. So professor Gillis. I mean, not for for a long time, not allowing natural burns or even perhaps not having enough controlled burns. Is it time to rethink that are absolutely. Is professor McDonald's can can add, you know, our we're going to have to have more fire in the landscape in a Mediterranean climate like we're in it. It's just going to have to be there. And suppression isn't. When we talk about preventing fires. There's a lot to preventing fires which is not ecologically at odds with with living in harmony with their environment. Cal fire is doing now defensible space inspections on homes. That's far part of fire prevention the compliance. We're working with through the state board of forestry and fire protection and the land use planning group in count fire to bring all county and local entities fire safety elements in compliance with the fire safety regulations on emergency access water reserves vegetation management, sign edge, all of that's part of prevention. So there's a lot we do that isn't about suppression and an emphasis on prevention, which is you know, the the precursor to suppression activities. That's where a lot of this is going to pay off. All right. I if we're going to make social. Investments? And that's where the state's putting a lot of money. They're they're going to put a billion dollars on the table for vegetation management and prevention activities over the next five years, professor MacDonald pick up on that thought because another thing that I wanted to explore with both of you is you know, maybe in years past or generations pass. We could have said, well, people shouldn't be building in places that are much more susceptible to wildfires in the west. But the difference we're seeing now I'm just thinking about what happened in paradise. That's a town of twenty seven thousand people eighty percent of it is gone now. So I mean, we can't even. Maybe we should still be talking about you know, where we're putting human habitation in these zones between between the built and natural environment. But it seems as if it's gone beyond that that we're having entire towns and cities that are already existing that are now under threat. Well, I it's a couple of things on that one is any place that you build that low elevations in California, you're gonna be up against flammable fuels equa systems, which typically carry fires. That's that's just sort of the way. It is the other thing. I would mention is that if you study the history of fire and development in North America. This is in in Canada and the United States there were some massive city destroying fires that did occur in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. So this is not not necessarily something completely new. I think that we will have to look at the placement of, you know, some of our development in terms of these fuels where you're gonna have a difficulties with egress by we know roads or things like that. And I think that probably they'll be a market solution to a certain degree in terms of you simply can't get insurance to build there. There probably will have to be regulations municipalities. The state very very good about going after things like no longer along to put would shake roofs, and flammable roofing, which is the situation here in Thousand Oaks are defensible parameters I visited a lot of the sites which was the fire the Woolsey fire came up to here in Westlake village Thousand Oaks area and those large community defensible perimeters between the subdivisions. And then between the chaperone or coastal sage scrub they really did a number. And that's where you know, the caller mentioned goats. Okay. So typically this is done mechanically. It's done in the early spring before the fuels are flammable. But those things worked also if you take a look at what's burning, you know, newer buildings stock with studio exteriors may be a little bit less venting. They have tile roofs. The landscaping is not so flammable, you know, the individual home in terms of its construction. And it's landscaping are also important we're not gonna get away from fire. We're not gonna put out every fire, nor should we because it serves for important ecological functions. We really have to look about our overall community planning, but we will never get away from having our communities in some way or the other adjacent to flammability. And then we have to look at our individual structures only evacuation evacuation and early warning. This has got to be critical and we've seen this in paradise. Well, yes, so as we mentioned earlier in the hour paradise after two thousand eight had a comprehensive evacuation plan. Right. And and perhaps one of the best in the state of California. But because of the the sudden and total nature of the embers that fell on the paradise on paradise before the car of the campfire actually got to the the city that even their extreme preparation wasn't enough. Right. Because they were thinking about of. Evacuate people in neighborhoods or in sections, but everyone had to end up leaving the city at once. So I mean is that are we going to have to have? I guess we are going to have to have plans now where you're looking at emptying out in entire cities instantaneously, well, if I might do you had two hundred and fifty thousand people were under mandatory evacuation orders here in southern California. I think they they exercise an abundance of caution. People might argue. Well, my neighborhood didn't seem to be that threatened yet. I had spent two or three days someplace else, I think paradise is a great example of that with these high winds with these ambers, it's not like this front is slowly moving towards you. Right. And and so I I do think that this sort of early warning. And it is uncomfortable, and it is disruptive. But I'd rather be uncomfortable and disrupted and be alive. It's the same thing that people on the east coast and the Gulf Coast face when with approaching hurricanes. I guess professor Gillis you wanted to chime in. Yeah. Just a couple of quick things. Your referenced hurricanes is right on point the natural hazards, literature of the country has lots of lessons, you can share across natural hazards. And you know, one of the unique things we're in right now is that we've had so many instances of fire is that the public mindset about fire in California is rather different than its response to natural hazards, you experience once in a lifetime or once in a every other generation like a magnitude seven earthquake. Yeah. So it does provide you with the the social capital to to make change when you've had fire seasons. The kind we have in California one thing. I wanted to add to professor McDonald's point on. Yes. Everywhere in California, we say it'll all burn the question is win and how intensely there are some. Studies coming out of the geography community that I'm very impressed with that look at the role of. Diablo or Santa Anna wins and topography creating particularly dangerous quarters. And so it could be that the as we zone out the fire hazard in the state. There are some areas that. May be subjected repeatedly too extreme events, and in those cases, we're going to have to be really very rigorous in our design of the transportation network in our requirements for fire resilient housing and vegetation management and the the tubs. Fires a good example of that word a fire can basically be recreated. And you look at the the weather conditions, and you look at the topography and you say, oh, I see when that happened. Well, you know, since you mentioned, the the Santa Ana wins. I just wanna play a little bit of tape here. This is from Casey a LTV, you'll hear reporter Kara Finstrom reporting from Malibu just yesterday talking about the winds that could hinder progress in battling the Wolsey fire in southern California. Firefighters here telling us they do feel they made some progress over the weekend when the Santa Anna's die down as far as containing this massive fire bet they're concerned about the Santa Anna's picking up again. And we're starting to feel them out here around midday. Let's go to a quick call Andy's calling from New Orleans and a you're on the air. Thanks for taking my call. First and foremost, my heart goes out anyone who's lost their home. You're in a club that nobody wants to be in. You never thought you'd be in. And I've been in it before. And it really is a horrible horrible feeling. You'll be asked constantly how how do you feel about? All you don't even know, it's horrible. Now. One thing I did learn post Katrina rebuilding which we were forced to do was. We looked at what happened in New Orleans, and nobody realizes that. We had a lot of fires that ran through here because we had no water pressure. And the fire department was not able to put out a fire when it started. And just as we saw in hurricane sandy in queens where you had large areas of the cities or hidden area. Just started on fire things burned, and they burned. Uncontrollably. And went out. I mean, they just burned completely. And when you look back at your own history. My study per se the French quarter kept burning over and over and over and it didn't stop and tell the Spanish family made us put three our firewalls. So post, Katrina, I read. Built with a system that has a definitely a three hour firewall, and is fireproof winter fireproof, and it's made out of concrete and steel. But my biggest issue is when I go to a big box store, and I go, and I see how America Dell's I can get a p. I can get I can get a lumber you can get a piece of wood or two by four that's eight for ten feet long for maybe two dollars and fifty cents. That is ridiculous. I wonder what percentage of that two by four is covered by whether some form of tax breaks where they have everyone saying, oh, wow. Great. We we're growing regretting trees. We're. We're. Forgive me for interrupting you. But I gotta jump in here because I need to say, I'm Meghna Chuck Roberta. This is on point professor McDonald. I think what Andy was he was headed towards and sorry I had to cut him off there. But that you know, he seeing that are are we're subsidizing the wrong kind of building products. You know, would if if we want to really get more resilient fire fireproof building practices out out there. What do you think? Well, you know, again, the state of California in many many jurisdictions, you're not allowed to use wood shakes and and shingles on your roofing. An I suspect they'll be they'll be more regulation like that. In terms of the flammability of exterior material, decking is another area where some areas you simply not allowed to use wood decking anymore because if it's slim ability, so I think I think we will look at that how that fits into four subsidies. What is the mix between things like would versus a cinderblock. And and and other materials in building. I mean, that's an area. Really that. I think maybe professor a Gillis could could answer more more from the policies down. Pat. Professor Gilles hang on here for just a second. Because there's one more caller. I want to get get to before we return to you because Lori is calling from Chico, California, Laurie. You're on the air. How're you doing? Hi, pretty shocked. I have a little bit of a story to tell if he'd like to hear it. Yeah. I hate to say this. But we've just got about a minute in a minute and a half. But Patel's all that you can in that time. Okay. So what happened is for about two days? PG ni are trinity company. Here have been advertising on the TV and sending out Technet text messages that we are going to be enough high fire danger. And so that they would be turning off the power and on the day of the fire. The fire started on the PG ni lines. The power wasn't even shut off. And then it just escalated into paradise and intimate Galea's. The town that I live in when never had emergency responders. We never got any evacuation notice and up until about eleven thirty or maybe twelve to power was still on in the Galea. So I don't know what these. Stories are that are going around saying everything worked per plant. Absolutely. Not people were running for their lives. Well, Laurie first of all of the by the fact that you're able to call us. I'm glad that you're safe. And thank you so much for sharing your experience. That's Laurie calling us from Chico, California. Professor gillis. We really do have just about forty five seconds here to go. And this is a huge topic. Right. It's it's it's complex, and it's huge. But I was just wondering if you have a last thought to leave us with about California's new reality here, I'm going to go off of of lorries comment, everyone that lives in these areas. Go to Cal fire's website. Look at the ready, set go process and part of this is planning, but plans the best laid plans don't necessarily get implemented. But everyone needs to be prepared for a fire, and let's avoid simplistic logic. Even things as simple as why build with something. That's flammable. Well, we have other social objectives as well. Well, that the carbon footprint of stealing concrete or not necessarily something that we should be advocating at the same time that we're we're dealing with fire management. But I also keep thinking that while it may be simplistic, it's also true that this is yet another example of how climate change, you know, at at the top level is really changing the way we all have to live j Keith Gillis professor of forced economics at the university of California Berkeley, joining us today from Berkeley. Thank you so much for being with us. Professor migrate pleasure. And Glenn MacDonald professor of geography and ecology at the university of California, Los Angeles with us today from Thousand Oaks, California, professor MacDonald. Thank you so much an all the best to you and your family. Thank you very much. It's been my pleasure. Eve this is on planes. So about the time that he begins putting the duct tape on. He says this is a robbery. Last seen a new podcast from WBU are in the Boston Globe investigates, the largest unsolved art heist in history. The theft of thirteen artworks Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. The artwork involved was from Rembrandt and was from Vermeer it is to holy fail theft. Five hundred million euros will the paintings. There's absolutely no question. They knew the police weren't coming the authorities. That are on this case are the wrong with these says, we solved it we noble. Did. It's like, no you don't because you don't have the paintings. Subscribe. And listen to last seen now on apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Sponsored by Samuel Adams, an ADD smart home.

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