In the January/February NFPA Journal Wildfire column, I ask that before we rush to find answers about the recent fires in California, we pause to consider whether we’re even asking the right questions.
We want to be whole again after such a devastating event, but in the days and weeks that followed the September-October wildfires, media outlets and policy wonks were pitching blame and churning out neat solutions to our wildfire problem.
The media response got me thinking if we are asking the right questions about the fire or just rehashing old assumptions for the current news cycle. In the face of these fires, we need to challenge presumed orthodoxies about wildfire. I hope you enjoy the column.
I should add that when the column was written, the fires were still raging and subsequently, the loss figures mentioned unfortunately grew. This tragedy has assumed a new form over the past two days as heavy rains have caused mudslides across the exposed landscape. With 17 deaths and over a dozen unaccounted for, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those lost and missing.