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The Fire This Time

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I was down near Adams & Western when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a fast burning fire that sent smoke in the air...


The fire soon became the center of attention across the city...


For job-related reasons I had to head west while the fire burned. Looking skyward as I and my work partner drove along Jefferson Boulevard, an oily, brackish cloud broke off from the main plume and headed south, then hovered for a time before it was slowly inhaled into the lungs of my fellow Angelenos.

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My favorite image: An L.A. Metro Hospital sign (this facility is where a lot of patients from skidrow end up) in the foreground, smoke from the fire deep in the background, and inbetween on the lower right a grinning skull bearing witness to all. Definitely an L.A. moment!

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

watching this live on CNN all they could talk about was "the horrible prospect of a threat to the Historic Hollywood Sign!!", with occasional mention of oh yeah, and also to the TV and microwave towers on the top of the hill behind which the fire was raging.

First of all, the "incredibly historic important Hollywood sign!!" is neither incredible, particularly important, nor at all historic--it has been replaced and rebuilt on any number of occasions and could have been again had it got incinerated this time, for about 2 grand worth of plywood and paint and whatever it cost to round up a crew in the local day labor gathering spot. Call it 10 grand max. It has about the same level of importance as my local town's City Limits: Speed Limit 35 signage.

Secondly, howcome we hear every time there is a hurricane that These People Are Idiots To Live Here, They Have To Know Storms Are Gonna Take Them Out, followed by grumblings as to how both the gummint and insurance companies get socked for damages to structures which really should not have been there in the first place. Which are just going to be rebuilt with said gummint 'n' insurance money, so they can get blowed down again.

But we never hear this said about the Ludicrously Expensive Canyon 'n' Mountain Homes of the Californios somehow. This puzzles me. Surely the gummint spends plenty on those firefighting copters and planes, not to mention the trucks and human crews thereof. Every year a shitload of them burn, insurance pays, they rebuild in the same damn places, the scrub grows back and a couple years later the same canyons are on fire again.

This is not intended as a scrreed against Californians mind you. Nor residents of gulf- or ocean-coast areas. More a plea that either building be forbidden in some areas, or a provision put into insurance and regulatory policies that property destroyed in UTTERLY PREDICTABLE disasters, be they fires, hurricanes or floods, will be paid for ONCE with the proviso that the insured will take the money and go the fuck somewhere else.

Let the hillsides go back to the trees and the bears, riverbanks back to the willows and crawdads, the seashores go back to the turtles and crabs, and people keep their houses and hotels and shit in terrain better suited to their species' needs.

Just a thought. Earthquake, volcano and tornado victims ...well, I dunno, can't solve every problem all at once and it's late, I'm out of great ideas. Off to drink. More.

Submitted by lambert on

and so I hate to see any part of it on fire, even something as fundamentally cheesy as the Hollywood sign. Though Xan is right with the insurance but. ("What's natural about natural disasters?")

Thanks for these beautiful pictures, MSJ. They make me look forward to the next LA Corrente gathering...

But why is the "L" in L.A. Metropolitan Medical Center scribbled out? What's up with that?

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

a number of changes designed to minimize damage have been implemented in Southern California, including roofs made from non-flammable composites (one of the funny/not-funny things about L.A. is that customs and habits from other locales were utilized here--wood shake roofs, front lawns styled after the UK and the Northeast--here in a semi-desert they are rather ridiculous and unslakable water-drinkers). Homeowners here are required to remove brush (for X number of feet from their structures) as another way to keep houses from catching fire. We Angelenos live in a land that has a well-established cycle of its own: drought, fire, flood, earthquakes, mudslides, etc. It is the nature of the beast, and we live with that beast as best we can.

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