Greg Archbald: Lessons from the Camp Fire | TheUnion.com

Greg Archbald: Lessons from the Camp Fire

With the horrendous Camp Fire burning bright in our awareness, your recent editorial ("Our worst nightmare") was a timely wake up call to "accept the responsibility" that comes with choosing to live in a forest community.

Your recommendations, however, are far too modest and miss the main issues, in my opinion.

Faced by a raging inferno driven by a major northerly wind event in the late fall when everything is tinder dry, what worries you most? This is not a normal fire. It is what's being called a "megafire" — the kind that burns 70,000 acres in a day, and throws embers far ahead as it runs. That's what hit Paradise. That's what could hit us.

In a fire like that, I think there are three big issues: How soon you are alerted, how fast you can get out, and how you can survive if evacuation is impossible.

From the sobering lessons of the Camp Fire, it's obvious that we aren't prepared here on any one of those three key issues. They are what we should be debating first. Our lives may depend on it.

Greg Archbald

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