As we watch the devastation that is occurring in California every day on the national news we keep hearing terms like, “Second largest in California history,” and “entire neighborhood wiped out.” To be sure the fires are terrifying and tragic. They are huge, seemingly unstoppable, and devastating to thousands upon thousands of people.
What needs to be remembered through all this is there is no such thing as “an insignificant wildfire.” The debris burner who has a fire get away from them and burns a half an acre along with his garage will tell you the fire was significant to him. The arsonist who set a fire to wreak maximum damage, set a fire that was significant to the firefighters who responded and stopped it before it burned an acre. The firefighters who carried out their fellow firefighter who suffered a heart attack while working a fire set when a diesel locomotive blew hot carbon sparks into the dry brush along the tracks, would call that a significant fire.
A fire doesn’t have to burn 350,000 acres to be significant – despite what the reporters, dressed in spiffy yellow shirts with their network logo embroidered on the front and standing in front of a fire that is roaring up a steep canyon tell you. When you are on the receiving end of a fire it is significant.