I have this theory: no matter where you live, every place has its own unique natural disaster, something that afflicts your region that other places don’t have to deal with.  I grew up in Iowa, land of many tornadoes, and I was always flabbergasted at the people who chose to live in parts of the country that were assaulted by hurricanes, tsunamis, and other coastal phenomena I’d never have to experience.

Now, I live in California, where I’m lucky enough to experience many different kinds of natural disaster.  Earthquakes?  We’ve got that.  Flash floods and mudslides?  Got those, too.  Persistent record-breaking drought?  Check.  And of course, what is California known for if not its wildfires?

The question of fire prevention in the time of drought is complicated.  We shouldn’t take water shortages lightly, and sparing whatever droplets we can is the key to long-term survival.  Then again, long-term survival doesn’t count for squat if we can’t make it through short-term survival, which means we need some way to thrive in light of the flames – and that’s where this post comes in.

For the most part, scarcer water in Los Angeles means more water importation – whether helicopters are flying further out to bring water in to douse flames  or trucks are hauling from creeks further and further away, the water’s got to come from somewhere, and it’s usually a game of finding what the quickest, closest, biggest supply could be.  Other solutions include turning to non-water fire retardants like dirt.

The good news is, for helicopter fire-fighters, they’re not limiting themselves to drinking water.  Helicopters can gather water from lakes or streams and not only does that water douse flames, but it trickles back into Los Angele’s groundwater and remains a part of our natural ecosystem. 

As always, though, an ounce of prevention counts for a pound of cure.  That means controlled burns can prevent worse fires down the line, and also that ordinary citizens can do our part to off-set our dry climate by implementing greywater in our yards to keep our plants and trees healthy, alive, and wet.

Look: fires are dangerous, and nobody wants to lose their home or their life in an inferno.  We’re fully in favor of doing what it takes to keep our fires in check, but we also applaud efforts on the part of California’s fire fighters to preserve our water resources while they’re at it, too.

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