Caravan of our Brothers and Sisters
Friends of the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities

Paradise is burning, what are you going to do about it?

ParadiseBy Sadie Fulton

To my non-Californian friends: today here in California we had unprecedented fire-prone conditions. High winds, dry air and land. 

The town of Paradise is under full evacuation (from what is bitterly called the "Camp Fire") and much of it is burning down, and that fire started only this morning. Ventura county, hundreds of miles away from Paradise also caught fire. There were two small fires in Davis today and that's just what I know about. 

People are missing in the Camp Fire. Hundreds if not thousands of people just became homeless.

Everyone is discussing how we need to start fighting climate change NOW. But all we are doing is talking to each other, trying to help share the information about who's missing and who's taking in climate refugees, and processing our collective trauma.

What is our concrete plan? March on Sacramento? March on Washington? Total general strike until this gets addressed? What are we going to do?


Todd Edelman

YES, but we also need government support for people in the wildfire fallout zones outside of wildfire zones where many are at least in theory eligible for support due to loses of property and so on.

As I (hope) we know, if you can smell a fire it means that it's sharing its lovely tiny particles with your bloodstream. It's what we can't see that hurts us most.

Yolo Solano AQMD and other govt. entities ask us to stay inside and set any HVAC systems to internal circulation, and sometimes suspend school activities or - again - recommend that students should stay inside classrooms.

To our great benefit our landlord is supporting our interior home hygiene with high quality air filters, and I've been able to buy a vacuum that has HEPA filtration and is well-sealed, but my concern is that probably millions of homeowners and renters don't have similar tools, or don't even know that they should. For rentals, it should not be dependent on the empathy and financial wherewithal of landlords to supply safety equipment for situations which are out of their control.

I've had some great discussions with County Supervisor Provenza's office about what seems to be this missing component of FEMA-support. But my understanding is that there's little they can do on their own. I've put this advocacy a bit on the back... uh, burner... because WTF it's getting to be mid-November and it's snowing in parts of the country.

The goal I suppose would be that every disaster declaration that invokes Federal support would automatically have a fallout component. This would support supply of consumables such as dust masks and reimbursement for the best filters a home's system can handle. It's important to note that more permanent equipment would support us in future wildfire fallout events, so support for high-quality vacuums, HEPA fans and more should be considered, too. Replacing a home's HVAC system is very expensive, but the other tools are relatively cheap (good vac + year's supply of MERV 13 filters is less than $500.)

We live in a (hopefully) no worse than wildfire fallout zone sort of permanently (for the foreseeable future) and we need help staying healthy in this environment. It should also be determined if there's ways to protect us further, e.g. does hosing off a property in a wildfire fallout zone - to be clear not talking about in a wildfire zone itself, where ash should be collected - help? If so, we should get a discount on water use. Are there other measure that could be taken? Surely there is a lot of good science to back up some political decisions. Hopefully these decisions can come ASAP.

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