Mountain Musings


Fire On The Mountain


There are too dang many fires around here lately, at least five currently burning throughout Southern California, some of which have been burning for several weeks, including the El Dorado Fire, which emanated from a smoke bomb set off at gender reveal party in Yucaipa (more about this later) and the Bobcat Fire burning in the hills above Monrovia. Both of these blazes have spread smoke, soot and ashes throughout the mountain areas for weeks…cough, cough.


This is really annoying, especially since we haven’t even reached the peak of the traditional wildfire season, which usually kicks off when the Santa Ana winds return in October.


Well, the jury is in folks: Climate change is not a hoax, which means wildfires are getting bigger and more destructive. Driving this trend is climate change, which has intensified summertime droughts, making vegetation dry out quickly and making fire seasons longer and the increase in lightning strikes, which have sparked many of the fires burning throughout California, not to mention more hurricanes hitting the Southeast.


Having been evacuated at least three times since 1980’s Panorama Fire, I can tell you it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep when there are fires raging all over the place.


“How do you sleep while the city’s burning, where do you go when you can’t go home? How do you drink when there’s blood in the water? Where do you turn when the world moves on? Fire on the mountain, you can feel it against your skin. You’re standing by the river, let the river take you in.” (“Fire On The Mountain – Rob Thomas – 2009)


A reader told me recently he believes Caltrans could fix the now-closed dirt portion of Highway 173 – the back way down the mountain – enough for a one-way escape route with a few days work. This has been nixed by Caltrans many times in the past because the rugged, narrow and windy dirt road could easily bust a driver’s axle, leaving hundreds of other motorists stranded while trying to flee a raging inferno.


Now, if Caltrans could pave the road, straighten it out and expand it to two lanes, that might be a viable option in case the roads down the front side were already engulfed in flames.


I have an even better idea: Why not ban all campfires and smoking in the national forest, with jail time and steep fines for those who violate the law? Those responsible for causing a wildfire, such as those attending a gender reveal party (I’m not opposed to those who wish to reveal their new gender), should be incarcerated for a longer period of time and made to repay all expenses incurred in extinguishing the blaze.


I know this is extreme, but so is burning down a national forest and injuring or killing firefighters, residents and innocent wildlife.


“Hell, I see smoke out on the horizon, Mama, get your baby, take her down to the water. I view the wind like a promise broken, I see the future, but it’s getting farther….You’re standing by the river, let the river take you in.”


I am Uncle Mott and that is my opinion. Keep it flyin’