Heart­sick in the AV

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

It’s il­le­gal to shout “Fire” in a crowded theater’ comes to mind as we hear “Fire” non-stop in Cal­i­for­nia.

Heart­sick in A.V. where, so far, we’re safe on the desert floor. Sur­pris­ingly we have clear air, but we aren’t im­mune. In 2010 our Lancaster home was cov­ered in ash, friends in west Palm­dale evac­u­ated.

In 2017 friends lost homes to fire; one by Santa Rosa, one in Ven­tura. In 2018 my sis­ter-in­law, wid­owed a year, lost her home in the Camp Fire that de­stroyed Par­adise.

Power out­ages as pre­ven­tion... She’s had many, 24-48 hrs. each, no lights, fridge, heat.

Weather... High winds hap­pen. Years­long drought hap­pened. Dur­ing it fo­cus could have been placed on sev­eral things be­sides ‘ trans­porta­tion’ and ‘save-ev­ery­thing.’ Clear­ing dry veg­e­ta­tion, dead trees; wa­ter op­tions such as cis­terns, de­sali­na­tion plants; road ac­cess for fire trucks; strong main­te­nance of power lines, struc­tures.

Years of ne­glect have caught up with ‘ pow­ers that be’ who are elected, ap­pointed, hired to make dif­fi­cult, un­pop­u­lar de­ci­sions for pub­lic safety. I get, some­what, P, G & E be­ing proac­tive (de­fen­sive) now, prover­bial ‘clos­ing the barn door after the horse got out.’ Too lit­tle too late. No rewind but­ton.

Power com­pa­nies and the state should com­bine ef­forts, re­sources to pro­vide gen­er­a­tors for those liv­ing with long black­outs, clear fire-prone ar­eas (na­ture is do­ing that), en­sure power lines, struc­tures are re­in­forced or re­placed vs. cut­backs ‘for bud­get.’

A month after the his­toric deadly Par­adise fire P, G & E ex­ecs were given raises, Christ­mas bonuses, a party. The state con­tin­ues rais­ing taxes with prom­ise to ‘im­prove in­fra­struc­ture.’ Many roads, high­ways are in dis­re­pair, dan­ger­ous or sim­ply em­bar­rass­ing.

I’m no ex­pert, just a Cal­i­for­nian with an opin­ion, heart­sick for fam­ily, friends, strangers en­dur­ing the un­think­able, again, in ‘fire sea­son.’

Alice Cor­nell Lancaster

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