California Wildfires (my opinion)

California Wildfires (my opinion)

A Story by barleygirl
"

everyone keeps asking . . .

"

As part of an international writing community, I get asked about California wildfires all the time lately. So now everyone gets to hear my opinion on it. The media has dramatized things, but this has been one of the mildest fire seasons (so far) that we’ve had in California’s recent history.

Concerning my personal safety, I do not feel a threat during any fire season, even though I live on the edge of wilderness. The Soberanes fire cleared vegetation on nearby ridges back in 2016. That fire burned for three months, seared 132,000 acres and cost $260 million to fight (costliest in US history).

Back in 2017, there were twenty-one fires that scorched Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Solano and other nearby counties. This fire burned 245,000 acres, fueled by 80 mile-per-hour winds, destroying more than 1500 homes and taking 15 lives. There were 250 blazes at one time across California in 2017.

Last year (2018) the camp/woolsey fire complex was the deadliest (86 lives) and most destructive fire in California history. It burned 153,000 acres and pretty much wiped the entire town of Paradise (population 26,000) off the map. This was the point at which our power company, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) started being directly blamed, since power transmission lines clearly sparked these and other devastating blazes, with more and more evidence.

Here it is, almost November 2019 and there’s one major wildfire that compares to recent fire seasons, approaching 80,000 acres burned. All other current California fires are under 10,000 acres and mostly contained. In my opinion, the reason this wimpy little fire season has been blasted out across the media so dramatically is because of PG&E’s pre-emptive actions to cut power to millions of Californians to cover their asses, trying to prevent the kind of fire season we had last year.

The fire seasons of 2017 and 2018 devastated PG&E. They paid out $30 billion in liability (taxpayers footing some of it). The camp/woolsey fires were the straws that broke the camel’s back and PG&E started getting severe public backlash for not maintaining power transmission lines adequately.

This past summer, PG&E staged a campaign to check all transmission lines in this eight-hundred-mile-long state. Their efforts looked haphazard. For several different weeks during the summer, I got robocalls every day to inform me that PG&E would be flying low helicopter runs over my area to check power lines. These robocalls sounded like a public relations campaign: “Please don’t sue PG&E out of existence! We’re doing our best to prevent wildfires!”

After this rash of robocalls over weeks, then came squadrons of tree-trimmers. I swear there were at least five separate occasions when a tree-trimming crew spent the day going up and down the power lines along my rustic little side road. It didn’t look like an organized effort. After all that chopper surveying for a month, I would’ve thought they would pinpoint issues more efficiently.

Bringing us to our current fire season craze: MILLIONS WITHOUT POWER.

Even though I understand PG&E taking drastic measures to prevent wildfires, property damage, and loss of life, I find it preposterous that they have so little confidence in their own power system that they pre-emptively turn off power to millions. The idea is for us to get the impression they are forced to do this to fight horrible raging blazes. But PG&E has turned off power to areas which are not blazing, but which MIGHT blaze due to bad conditions, such as high winds.

Being without power for days at a time is unthinkable in this day and age. I have friends who have lost freezers full of expensive food. Thankfully the weather in California is mild this time of year so people are not freezing to death. Finally, our Fulsome Newsom (governor) is asking PG&E why they do not have a backup power system in place at this point, managing blackouts reasonably. Last I read, sparking power lines are still the cause of at least one current California fire.

I have not studied this situation in order to do a proper factual essay. But since I’ve lived on the edge of wilderness for ten years, I check the Calfire website often. That’s how I assess each fire season. I knew I had not seen any bad fires (of the magnitude we had 2016 through 2018) this year. Yet people keep asking me about the wildfires, as if this is a stand-out year. Yes, it’s a stand-out year for no monumental fires (yet).

I don't see any smoke from here. All I can see is gross mismanagement of an essential and impactful power grid.

© 2019 barleygirl


Author's Note

barleygirl
Photo: nearby ridges burning in 2016 (just over the ridge from me!)

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Featured Review

Wow! You certainly provide much better information than we get from the media. Thank you.
Each time they tell us about these terrible flare ups and the high winds and show us hundreds of people scurrying from their homes I think about you. I am very relieved to hear that you are safe and sound and seemingly with little cause to worry.
Please continue to take care - Dave

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dave

2 Weeks Ago

Whatever - in any case I glad you are safe and sound. At least safe - lol
Take care - Dave
OscarRat

2 Weeks Ago

I quit it five years ago for the same reason, also realizing the cost per watching hours. Now I get.. read more
Dave

2 Weeks Ago

Sounds good. It's a shame the that mass media can't be trusted any more than our president.
.. read more



Reviews

i lived in California for several years and it's been my experience that nearly everything in the mainstream media regarding California is wildly wrong. the american news is based on the east coast, and they have a bias against the west coast, and California especially. so everything they say is usually stupid and wrong. fires happened constantly there, and ironically i never felt one earthquake in all the years i lived there! and i never met one communist or socialist either. so basically everything that people say about California is ridiculous. except that it's too expensive, that's true.

yeah, PG&E is probably fretting with the PR. but it is quite sensationalized. millions without power may be true, but it ignores the fact that California is about 1/8 of the US population. so it's really not that stunning because if they have to turn the power off then of course it will affect many. CalFire is also really amazing too. they do a great job. i've known several wildland firefighters, and i'm envious of their work ethic.

good write and clarification!

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

damn! Your POV is so logical, I wished I'd had some of these ideas when I was writing this! But the .. read more
MondaineGarcon

2 Weeks Ago

haha, right? i lived in central California too. my two best friends were a redneck and a native amer.. read more
I do worry about you sorry that what bunny does get used to it the idea of wildfires surrounding you without a car or means to escape scares me a bit:( but you rugged mountain girls are tough I know but still cant help but check on you when I see all of the news stories:) I think of california as I did of Japan as a child fraught with mega monsters tsunamis earthquakes and many other natural disasters I fully expect California to drop off into the sea someday and remove itself from the continental US out of shear disgust and a giant california mothra will circle the border keeping would be invaders at bay

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

Yeah, we get it from all directions here . . . and those damn southern invaders, anyhow! *wink! wink.. read more
When you catalogue the mayhem it makes me realise how lucky we are here in Scotland. Thanks for your very full news. It sounds like the prevention is worse than the cure! Take care Margie.
Alan

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

After the bad fire seasons we've had in recent years, it really stands out when we ARE NOT having ba.. read more
dear Margie... so glad you are safe... I appreciate all the information.
I do feel badly for a lot of people affected by the fires. I agree with you...
there is much that could have been done in a different way. truly, Pat

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I hate to be so numbed out about wildfires, saying this is a "good" fire season becuz losing power i.. read more
You mean it wasn't because people did not rake their leaves??? Hmmmmm...i thought that was gospel...lol. Spoken with tact, diplomacy and what I think is on the true side of the situation. It is nice to have someone near ground zero to help put things in perspective. Margie, my own personal reporter on the ground...I love it.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

I love the raking-leaves comment. After all the f*****g hours I've spent weedwhacking my bluff every.. read more
dear Margie... you could be like Jonny Appleseed.. when the Ridge across from you becomes fertile... you could "Manage" the State supplying Apple Seed and providing the Workers to Sow and throw the seed.
A beautiful solution for fertile land... and how about Peach Orchards also. About time we had someone in charge of replanting who could have an Iconic name. Love, Pat x

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


I live in Ohio and have never been close to a WildFire. I find your story interesting and saw no errors.

However, I can’t share the reasoning. The story seems like a matter of blowing off steam. A shortsighted case of, “Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.” On one hand you say their actions have saved lives and property. On the other hand, that cutting the power unnecessarily inconveniences YOU, personally.

I’ve lived in places without electricity or where it went off intermittently. In either case, I learned to adjust by stockpiling items like small propane cylinders, candles, kerosene lamps, batteries for flashlights and radios, etc. Others around me even purchased small generators.

While living in Hawaii, the electricity went off for four days. Very little food was spoiled if freezers and reefers were opened sparingly. We had fewer auto accidents than normal during that period. Because of my background I was one of the few that were prepared.

As the first major blackout since WWII, it caught most people and all businesses unprepared. Even local Civil Defense radio had no electricity for emergency broadcasts. Throughout the islands, only one radio station was on the air, that was because it shared a building with a business that did have a large diesel generator.

Now that you’ve got it off your chest, take a deep breath and take stock of your options. I’d advise you to spend a little money and time to be ready for the next time.

Oscar Rat, the famouse handsome and humble rodent riter.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you for bringing a different opinion to this table. I have not been inconvenienced & I don't c.. read more
O.K. Won't comment again, our media makes it seem far worse than you are saying

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Weeks Ago

Did not mean to criticize anyone who has inquired. Thanks for trying to understand (((HUGS))) Fondly.. read more
Wow! You certainly provide much better information than we get from the media. Thank you.
Each time they tell us about these terrible flare ups and the high winds and show us hundreds of people scurrying from their homes I think about you. I am very relieved to hear that you are safe and sound and seemingly with little cause to worry.
Please continue to take care - Dave

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dave

2 Weeks Ago

Whatever - in any case I glad you are safe and sound. At least safe - lol
Take care - Dave
OscarRat

2 Weeks Ago

I quit it five years ago for the same reason, also realizing the cost per watching hours. Now I get.. read more
Dave

2 Weeks Ago

Sounds good. It's a shame the that mass media can't be trusted any more than our president.
.. read more

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Added on October 30, 2019
Last Updated on October 30, 2019

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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