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Am I wrong to blame some of the victims of wildfires?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My "chain gets yanked" when I see the brushy areas adjacent to burning neighborhoods; when I drive through the Western Sierra and see home after home with WOOD-SHAKE shingles. This is common sense precaution that ALL Californian citizens should be required to know....I know that sometimes it seems that we have too much government in our lives, but geesh, these homes are being built in high-risk areas.
IMO, the developers should be required to create a fire break around every development and even though the state has a budget crisis, it will be much cheaper to have a task force that inspects all neighborhoods each year, minimum, with steep fines for violations than it is to fight a wildfire.
The information is there, and easily obtainable, the problem is getting the residents to heed it:
http://www.fire.ca.gov/communication...SpaceFlyer.pdf
post #2 of 7
I totally agree that people need to be more aware when building their house in a fire prone area like Oregon or California. Every year there are forest fires in these states so it should be no surprise when you buy a house that you should be prepared and make every effort to make your house as fire ready as you can.

I also am hard-pressed to feel pity when I see someone who has a house on a beach cliff or next to a river lose their house in a flood.

People should be more aware of nature and her potential when they choose a place to buy or build a home.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
My "chain gets yanked" when I see the brushy areas adjacent to burning neighborhoods; when I drive through the Western Sierra and see home after home with WOOD-SHAKE shingles. This is common sense precaution that ALL Californian citizens should be required to know....I know that sometimes it seems that we have too much government in our lives, but geesh, these homes are being built in high-risk areas.
IMO, the developers should be required to create a fire break around every development and even though the state has a budget crisis, it will be much cheaper to have a task force that inspects all neighborhoods each year, minimum, with steep fines for violations than it is to fight a wildfire.
The information is there, and easily obtainable, the problem is getting the residents to heed it:
http://www.fire.ca.gov/communication...SpaceFlyer.pdf
I completely agree with you. I see signs throughout the E. and W. Sierra informing people that they ought to have "defensible space" around their property... so there's really no excuse not to.
post #4 of 7
Yeah, I really wouldn't mind seeing either that kind of thing built into building codes or at least requiring people who don't take common sense precautions to sign off on a "I am an idiot" waiver and put down a deposit with the fire department.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrillblaiddes View Post
"I am an idiot" waiver
I LOVE your suggestions -- can I vote for you for Congress
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
I LOVE your suggestions -- can I vote for you for Congress
Ugh, that would require being around congresspeople...

Yeah, the "I am an idiot" waiver is actually a thing I came up with when I heard about people going beyond the interest-only mortgage and getting them set up to not even pay the interest...I have too much faith in the government's ability to mess stuff up to think we should get it regulated, but I do believe in informed consent to the implications of a contract, so anyone that wants a not-even-interest loan (unless there's some kind of provision where the principal and accrued interest gets completely written off at some point) should have to sign off on a statement acknowledging that they're idiots to set up something like that. It wouldn't have completely prevented this economic mess but it might have reduced it enough to save some jobs.

Back to the topic, though. What if companies that sell homeowners' and renters' insurance put out an ad campaign that showed a quote for otherwise identical houses, with and without safety features like non-flammable shingles and siding, cleared areas around the house, all that? They get some publicity (and hopefully fewer or lower claims), people save on their insurance, neighborhood associations at least might get together to DIY or chip in on clearing brush around the development and people would learn to insist on it in new places before they move it...everyone wins, really.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrillblaiddes View Post
Yeah, I really wouldn't mind seeing either that kind of thing built into building codes or at least requiring people who don't take common sense precautions to sign off on a "I am an idiot" waiver and put down a deposit with the fire department.
Oh lord, I wish they could do this in West Virginia. We don't normally get wide spread fires but they do happen. We live at the top of a mountain in a very wooded area. Most people around here burn alot of their trash, mail, etc. Burn bins or secured areas are common. There are months that you can't burn without FD approval (mainly during the summer) but you will always have that idiot that drank too much budwieser and decided that burning the trash...on a windy day... was much easier than actually taking it to the dump. Last year, we had a guy that did that and he ended up taking out almost 5 acres and lost his house. That doesn't sound like much, but that could have spread so fast in the right conditions. His burn pile was RIGHT BESIDE his house, not secured with cinder blocks and there was woods all around him. (his house was also mainly wood....old farm house). I had NO sympathy for him.

When we burn, DH or I is outside right beside it all the time with hose in hand and hose down anything that falls on the ground. And we don't do it on a windy day. A few times, the weather has changed and the wind has kicked up and we are both hosing down little fires and trying to put the main fire out before it got too bad.

I also always wondered about the people that build houses right next to the ocean (especially if the house is on stilts) in hurricane prone areas. WHY????? I know the view is great and you paid a buttload for the house...but have you checked history?? If it happened before, most likely it will happen again.

When I lived in Guam, there were quite a few people that built "shelters" (aka, houses) out of 4x4s and aluminum siding. It wasn't that they couldn't afford better (cars were more important than housing), but they knew they were temporary. When typhoons came through the "house" was demolished but they could always expect a big old check from FEMA so they could rebuild and put more money into their car and maybe build another house. One typhoon actually did cause some minor water damage in my house, and an islander told me to go tell FEMA and they would write me a check to cover that and then some. But, I would have to stand in line for the whole day basically. NOT!

I'm sorry, I just had to vent about stupid people. It makes me want to live on the top of a mountain somewhere....oh, wait...I'm already here. But they STILL find me.
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