Wednesday, October 11, 2017

House on Fire

I was born and raised in Sacramento. My parents are buried there. I studied in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Jose, and lived in Palo Alto for 35 years. I still have dear friends in Northern California, and it's on fire. I feel as if I'm on fire myself.

A CNN report this morning says that a "perfect storm of factors" created the conditions in the wine country that have taken 17 lives, left many unaccounted for, tens of thousands evacuated, and whole neighborhoods wiped out.

These factors include "really strong winds" with gusts of up to 50 mph in some areas and 80 mph in others; night-time onset, making it harder to notify people and get them out of harm's way in time; dense, dry vegetation following years of drought, a wet winter that brought new growth, and another very hot summer; and low humidity.

The fires are currently zero-percent contained according to a fire chief quoted this morning in the New York Times.

There will be investigations. Did someone set it, as in the case of a recent fire along the Columbia River? I guess it's important to know that, but not as important as recognizing that the conditions listed above, with the exception of the timing, made the fire worse, and are all the results of climate change.

I write fiction in part because I believe that fictional characters can sometimes tell truths with more clarity than real people:

We must bring ourselves to surrender to what is true.

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