Southern California may be seen as a blessed-by-nature, sunny paradise but there's a darker side to that coin. We are also cursed with a range of natural disasters.
It's summer. Hot, dry, and ready to burn. With little rain in the last four years, we have millions of acres filled with dry brush, dead trees, and even shrubs that will spontaneously combust.
Walking outside and smell smoke? Well, it could be one of my neighbors having a barbecue but I glance up to the mountains behind our house to make sure I don't see any plumes of smoke.
There are plenty of natural or accidental causes to fires but the worst are the people who go up into the wilderness to either start them on purpose or do things that they should know better not to, like the three brain dead cretins who went up to have a campfire and smoke pot. They ended up starting the Colby Fire last year that burned thousands of acres and more than a few homes.
You don't want to look up and see this yellow plane flying low over your house. It's a super scooper, a plane that flys low to scoop up water from a nearby lake then dump it on a fire. This one was snapped from our driveway during one of last year's fires.
While we've been lucky so far, we did have the van loaded up and ready to go for the evacuation order that was coming until our firefighters finally stopped the advance of the Colby fire.
Fire news on our local stations also come in two flavors. In dry years..."the vegetation is super dry so we need to be very careful not to set in on fire," or in the wet years..."the rain has made everything grow so fast so we have to be very careful not to set it on fire now that it's dry."
Basically, any way you look at it, we're screwed with fire.
Speaking of wet years, after a big burn, you can bet the next big rain storm will be washing all of that burned off soil into people's homes. Mudslides are another big disaster we need to deal with on a regular basis.
In the desert, they have to be on the lookout for flash floods. In fact, just a couple of days ago, a flood took out a bridge on the main L.A. to Phoenix freeway.
While we don't usually deal with hurricanes, we do have wind storms. Every couple of years, there seems to be a major one taking down trees and cutting power in our neighborhoods. We get more damage from this in our area than anything else. In fact, my mother lost the roof to her garage several years ago to a small tornado.
And last, but certainly not least, earthquakes are our claim to disaster fame. We tend to shake 'em off...slight pun intended...because, what else are you going to do? They only last a minute or so and for the most part, people aren't really hurt by them. There are a few in concentrated areas that can make it scary if you dwell on it but it's kind of like flying. You know people crash and die but the odds are extremely long that it will happen to you.
So, living here, you need to know that you can easily get shaken, burned, blown away, or flooded but you'll get over it.
At least we don't have hurricanes.
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
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