Opinion: fire and fury in California

Emily Tessmer, Editor

On Sunday, California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as the Kincade Fire in Northern California continues to devour thousands of acres, displacing thousands of people.

People in power blackout communities have been in the dark for days, and it is possible that during the projected high winds, that upwards of 2 million people may remain in the dark for an unknown amount of time.

Residents living in the Sierra foothills are getting dropped from their fire insurance and are left scrambling to find new policies. The food in their refrigerators is rotting, with no end in sight.

Julie Collier, a career counselor at Folsom Lake College and Placerville resident, has been in the dark off and on for the last week and just lost her homeowner’s insurance. She has until Jan. 5 to find a new provider.

“You never really know when the power is going to be cut,” Collier said. “Recently we had contractors out at our property that work for PG&E felling trees as a preventative measure, but they haven’t been back to clean up the now-dead trees, thus contributing to increased fire danger in an already very dangerous climate.”

This could be any one of us. If you live in northern California or the surrounding areas affected by high winds and PG&E’s crumbling infrastructure. Fire and fury have become the norm, and residents need to be prepared to flee at any moment, all the time.

When will the state of California step in to assist in the rebuilding of a clearly old and failing infrastructure, and is PG&E culpable again for yet another fire?

Maybe it is easier to pretend the crumbling and dangerous infrastructure doesn’t exist. The old sweep it under the rug philosophy, except the rug is on fire.

It is a three-alarm fire in the state of California 24 hours a day, and it’s time for government intervention. Sorry PG&E, game over, and if Sacramento politicians are in bed with you at the expense of residents in your communities, the jig is up.

Why is profit more important than people? It’s time for change.

California needs to employ the use of fire in order to prevent these massive fire storms that incinerate everything in their path. Our vegetation needs management and we need to be moving in the direction of sustainability when it comes to fire on the regular, and we need resources to make this happen, and it needs to be a priority.

Whatever the solution may be it needs to be implemented fast, as fire becoming more common than rain is not an acceptable ideology.

Emily Tessmer is an editor of the Eagle’s Eye.