Monday, October 22, 2007
The sky is orange, an apt color for this County of Orange, a place which long ago gave up the historical meaning of its name to suburban development and freeways, tollways, oh, and parkways, on which, coincidentally, you can drive 55. Not so on the 405, ever, and particularly when fire plays tag in the hills, and all the side roads north have closed down to keep lookey-loos (and naughty boys with matches) away from the windswept, combustible pre-developed landscape, staked out; its future high-end, luxury estates still in the planning stages. Not to worry, say the disembodied TV commentators, voices backed by the thrum of helicopters, their faces replaced by God's-eye images of His apocalypse: the fire in Irvine (an enormous swath of land, master-planned) lingers in an area only slated for growth; the flames skim over the top of concrete foundations, but nothing is built there--yet. For now, the natural disaster upstages the human disaster that has ravaged this poor land. None of us will ever live to see the recovery of that. For this landscape and its native ecosystem, this section of California, there is no recovery to come. We have zero containment on sprawl.