Wednesday, May 18, 2011
We have had an unusual week here in Southern California, as you know, and yet it's not something unexpected. We have had our lives dominated this past week by the horrific fire storms that have torched Southern California. The combination with which we are very family, severe drought, dry brush, excessive heat, dry Santa Ana winds with gusts up to 100 miles an hour, fallen power lines, and a few crazy arsonists have engulfed our communities in an inferno that has for a while, at least, put a million people out of their homes...the largest mass evacuation of people in the history of the state of California.
We are all fully aware of the terrible danger of wind and fire in our community. We see it with our own eyes and have friends who even lost their homes in these fires last week. But fire is not new. We've seen it before here in Southern California, the world has seen it throughout all of its history, really. In fact, the world has a long history of fire. Though we can't do without fire, even the ancient world was dependent on fire for warmth, dependent on fire for cooking, fire could also destroy and fire can also kill.
Just in the last few hundred years, there have been some severely devastating fires even in our own country. In 1846, a period of twenty years of fires in the state of Oregon burned about two million acres of forest there. Eighteen-seventy one, a very famous fire took place in Wisconsin, it burned 1.2 million acres and it started the same day as the famous Chicago fire which burned down the city of Chicago to the ground and thousands were consumed in that fire...