The 101

[A repeat from October 18, 2012]  Donna and I just returned from a week in California.   Two nights in Santa Barbara (the Canary Hotel).  One night at the beautiful Summerwood B&B in Paso Robles wine country.  A night in San Francisco (fabulous dinner at Rose Pistola).  And then Napa to lodge in a wonderful place called the Oak Knoll Inn — a 4 room B&B in Napa (a place to which we could easily return – and spend a few extra days).      

The drive from Santa Barbara to San Francisco along  the “101” is amazing in terms of agricultural activity.  As far as you can see — on both sides of the road for a hundred miles or more — literally everywhere —  there is a hum of activity. Trucks, tractors, workers, boxes, irrigation, cattle.   Everything moving (or moooooing).   California has 4% of the nation’s farms but is numero uno in cash farm receipts. California has 15% of the nation’s receipts for crops and 7% for livestock.  Say what you will about the Midwest and the prairie states but California’s Central Coast is truly an America breadbasket (and wine rack).

Afterword – Now if only California could comprehend some of the reasons for the terrible fires that are ravaging the state (see January 27, 2019).

Why wildfires have gotten worse

He ruffles feathers (including my own) but Mr. Trump’s comment that the State of California’s forest policies share responsibility for the horrific forest fires in the state — may be on target. 

I have posted occasionally on the TED Talks that I watch while having lunch. I just finished my chicken avocado sandwich while watching a TED Talk bearing the title above – “Why Wildfires have gotten Worse” by Dr. Paul Hessburg http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_hessburg_why_wildfires_have_gotten_worse_and_what_we_can_do_about_it#t-839042 . .             

Dr. Hessburg is a forest ecologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. He has a doctorate in Forest Pathology from Oregon State University and he is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington. Dr. Hessburg’s mantra is that “unless we change . . . our forest and fire management habits . . . we will lose many more beloved forests. . . . ”  

On November 9th, the New York Times had an article titled “Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires.”  The answer – according to the Times is fourfold:  climate change; people (who start fires); fire suppression policies; and the Santa Ana winds.  Dr. Hessburg’s 14 minute video is an excellent primer which tracks in part the NYT article.  So why is the situation worse today?   If you wish to learn, invest 14 minutes and watch his presentation.