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Fire & Water

While New Orleans was getting soaked yesterday, San Diego was encircled by wildfires. Today comes the news that 300,000 people are being asked to evacuate in San Diego county alone. Dangerblond says that’s more than Katrina. I’m worried about my friend Mary, who sent this e-mail yesterday evening:

San Diego is surrounded by fires in a big semicircle. 911 reverse called us and told us there is a voluntary evacuation of my area. (I’m near the ocean but the smoke gets people too). I went to the store to buy water, but there wasn’t any. I’m trying to decide what to do and where to evacuate to. I’d have to drive north of LA to get out of the ring of fire, and with the traffic, I may make it by the time [my baby daughter] is old enough to drive…

If I go south, I’ll still be trapped, but the fires are further east, at least.

I haven’t heard from Mary since then. I hope she and her daughter are OK.

As Michael notes, the people of the Gulf Coast have sympathy for the people of California. It sucks to have your home destroyed by forces beyond your control. The devastating storm surges of 2005 may seem very different from the wildfires, but they too may be exacerbated by global warming.

Published inFriends


  1. David David

    I’ve been thinking about California all day. My ex-mother-in-law lives in Oceanside. I wish there was something I could do to help.

    Like New Orleans, so many homes have been destroyed, and so many people have been displaced. Thank God, the loss of life hasn’t been as great.

  2. loula loula

    Sadly, when fire season happens here in Southern California, as it does every year, there is always the debate about “what the hell is wrong with those people? Don’t they know they’re living in a desert that burns?” (and don’t even get STARTED with earthquakes – yes, we know the planet is alive here and gives us a jolt to make sure we remember. Our situation in S.C. always me of the people who ask “why are those people living in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast? Don’t they know they’re all going to be underwater soon?”
    Most distressing is that many of these are arson fires.
    There are areas of Southern California that burned 4 years ago. People still liiving in trailers, fighting their insurance companies, depressed, unemployed.
    We empathize with New Orleans and the Gulf Coast – and areas ravaged by tornadoes and floods and collapsing bridges. You never know – and praying can’t hurt.
    (PS – This is the first situation where I’ve seen Schwarzenegger really kick some ass. He’s learning.)

  3. Garvey Garvey

    Yeah, Southern California used to be a lush, tropical rainforest–practically wall-to-wall wetlands. Before Halliburton messed it up.

    B, don’t your “crap detectors” get set off when you see a statement like this (from the article you linked):
    “Scientists have already tied increased frequency and intensity of wildfires to the changing climate, and scientists are confident that the conditions that will be brought on by global warming will only make conditions more ripe for wildfire.”

    I mean, the article should say:
    “Four scientists have…, and these four scientists are…” etc.

    See the difference? It’s one study with four co-authors.

    BTW, if you look at the study, they’ve gone all the way back to 34 years ago to study the data. My, that long?!? That’s practically a full epoch! What were the early humans like back then? I wonder what pre-industrial California looked like in 1973.

    And that, folks, is the problem with “studies” about “global warming.” Do I think global warming is happening? Sure, probably. But the limitless junk science, like this study, and the endless politicizing of the issues are doing the actual scientific community no favors.

  4. […] Brian, don’t compare the California fires to Katrina. Those of us in New Orleans are very concerned about Californians. But Katrina was a completely different animal. I’m not going to […]

  5. I just want to point out that my comparison of the number of evacuees was limited to New Orleans (population in Aug. of 2005 was about 500,000 and over 400,000 evacuated the city) . Over 1 million people in Louisiana, not to mention Mississippi, evacuated to escape Katrina and I think nearly that many fled from Rita. I don’t think the evacuations in CA have reached those numbers, but they have evacuated the equivalent of New Orleans’ population already.

  6. Thanks for the clarification, Danger. I was wondering about that. Just for the record I thought I’d mention the total number of people dislocated by Katrina, however temporarily: two million. May we never see its like again.

  7. loula loula

    I hate to say it, but I am convinced Bush would far rather take a call from a former bodybuilder and bad actor who is now a republican governor to discuss a disaster threatening the fates of the homes of mostly affluent white people. Katrina/fires can’t be compared, but the speed of governmental response and demographics of those affected can.
    It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong, but the facts speak for themselves.

  8. Garvey Garvey

    You mean “facts,” Loula.

    NO is unique in geography and infrastructure. One out of eight US residents lives in California. One out of seventy lives in LA. Etc.

    Apples and oranges.

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