WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

It could happen …

Wild fires have devastated Northern California, including many places in Sonoma County where I used to wear down shoe leather. Back in 2014 I wrote about the wild animal park in the hills outside Santa Rosa – it might well not survive, though I hear that all the animals have been evacuated. Thousands of acres of oak land are gone. The Spanish mission in Sonoma is at risk. Entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa have been obliterated and more than thirty-five people killed. I see on a map of the fire zone this morning that Jack London State Park is in danger, flanked on two sides by burning hills. The house London was building on the property – Wolf House – burned down before it was finished in 1911, so I don’t think Jack would be surprised by this week’s conflagrations.

The stunning level of destruction is horrifying, which is why I was astonished earlier in the week when my wife and I took one of our usual hikes along the American River and found the remains of a bonfire some idiots had made in some kind of drunken rave, long after the ranger’s last sweep through the area. It was obvious that they’d broken up a couple of wooden structures where interpretive information is posted – two-by-four stands with a peaked rooflike top – and used it for fuel. The fire’s circle of ash was a good five feet in diameter, so the flames must have leapt pretty high into the air.

What a scene. I bet those dicks had a blast.

But it’s infuriating to think that their little nocturnal party could have sparked a blaze that would have taken our home away from us. As a wall of flame travels, we live less than two miles away from that spot. The blaze would have rushed up the steep hillside from the river and right into our community, where there are over 1400 homes nestled in wooded lots. Ironically, some of the morons who started the fire probably live in our area.

This is how fragile civilized society is. One dipshit’s thoughtlessness – or malevolence – can destroy thousands of people’s security. The theft of lives.

Sometimes I wonder if humanity is essentially suicidal and it’s been a miracle that it has persisted as long as it has.

17 comments on “It could happen …

  1. Terri Webster Schrandt
    October 15, 2017

    Are you local to northern California? I’m in Sacramento and the smoke has from those fires has wafted over here, 90 miles away. You mentioned the American River, we’re close to there in Rancho Cordova. Perhaps we’re neighbors! The tragedies that befall us from stupidity and carelessness is mind blowing. You’re right, this could happen to any of us.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 15, 2017

      Hi Terri — Yes, I’m up in the wee town of Cool, outside Auburn. It just blows me away that we’re at the mercy of people who are either clueless or don’t care. I only wish there were a way to find out who these guys were and nail ’em. Drones, maybe? 😉

      Thanks for reading, by the way. Glad to meet you.

      • Terri Webster Schrandt
        October 15, 2017

        Cool is cool! My dad lives in Michigan Bluff! They’ve had their share of fires in the last couple of years. The homeless population and their camps has also contributed to some of these fires, too especially along the American River where many of them camp. Drones sound like a great idea.

      • Kevin Brennan
        October 15, 2017

        There was a pretty scary fire up by Michigan Bluff last year, as I’m sure your dad remembers. And the road out to Little Baldy peak goes through acres and acres of burned forest from a few years ago. Plenty of fuel up this way, so we all gotta be careful!

  2. kingmidget
    October 15, 2017

    A frightening reminder for you. It amazes me as well how idiotic people are. Can’t even begin to imagine somebody lighting a fire in the foothills this time of year.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 15, 2017

      I know. It’s like Arsonist Heaven right about now …

  3. Priscilla
    October 15, 2017

    California: sad, terrifying, and worrisome re the fire fighters. The callous bonfire idiots (using state or federal property for fuel): absolutely enraging.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 15, 2017

      Enraging is the perfect word. All they have to do is turn on the TV and they’ll see the consequences of stupidity. I don’t think a cause of the Sonoma/Napa fires has been found yet, though …

  4. John W. Howell
    October 15, 2017

    Man, do I hear you. I have walked where the fires are now. The Wolf House ruin was a beautiful place. Speaking of dipshits. This morning on the beach a bunch of twenty-somethings were getting ready to leave after spending the night. I noticed about ten cement blocks laying in the water (who knows what they were for). I also spotted about 20 dead fish on the waterline. I gave my wife the dog leash and walked up to the crowd. I asked about the cement blocks and dead fish. They looked at me with an iconic cave man expression. I also noticed two huge black trash bags in the dunes. Long story short, I asked them to pick up the blocks, (yes they were theirs) dead fish, and plastic trash bags. I explained that we had no services due to the hurricane and would appreciate the help. They would have left all that crap had not a crazy old man walked up but they reluctantly cleaned up after themselves.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 15, 2017

      What’s with the dead fish?! I can’t wrap my head around that one. But I admire your cojones approaching a bunch of hungover Lost Boys like that. Bravo!

      • John W. Howell
        October 15, 2017

        There were some women in skimpy suits too. I think my brain went to Stags Leap.

  5. Ilona Elliott
    October 16, 2017

    We’ve seen the same carelessness several times over the years–clueless campers leaving a bonfire burning and driving off without a thought. And the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia River Gorge fire was caused by fireworks set off in drought stricken woods over labor day weekend. AAARGH! You may be right–it’s a miracle we have survived as a species.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 16, 2017

      I guess we should be grateful we’ve had a chance to see good ol’ Earth before she was obliterated by our own ignorance. 😐

      • Ilona Elliott
        October 17, 2017

        I truly am grateful…and glad I’m old enough to hopefully miss the worst of it. What a sad way to feel.

  6. Woebegone but Hopeful
    October 17, 2017

    Terminal Stupidity seems to be endemic across the globe. In the UK it’s a ‘macho’ thing to go Tombstoning, ie jumping off a cliff (yes cliff) into the sea below, with no knowledge of if there are rocks below the surface or whether the tide is rushing out, or rushing in, and there are fatalities, and the rescue services have to risk their lives looking for the bodies. This is not restricted to the usual ‘twentees’, men in their forties too.
    Here’s hoping you get some modest but sufficient rain soon.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 18, 2017

      We used to have a show here called “Jackass,” in which young men did all kinds of unwise stunts that did great bodily damage. It was very popular.

      That’s all I’ll say. 😉

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        October 18, 2017

        Not enough medical research is being done into Terminal Stupidity

Chime in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on October 15, 2017 by in Et alia and tagged .
%d bloggers like this: