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Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
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No one to blame

EDITOR: I’m sorry that Jim Aljian’s home burned down, and I understand his anger and need to blame someone for his loss (“Government’s fault,” Letters, Wednesday). I’m also in favor of increased staffing of emergency personnel. However, when he claims that “the fire department” (whichever one of many that was) “didn’t respond fast enough” or “have the necessary manpower” to “contain the blaze while it was still in its earliest stages,” I have to point to the facts of the situation.

It doesn’t matter how many firefighters were on duty that night, nor how many engines were staffed. Because of the intensity of the warm, dry wind, unless there was an engine company, or more, at the ignition points of all the fires, at the times of ignition, there was no way to get in front of them until the wind died down. As far as I can tell it was strictly a defensive operation until the weather turned.

I speak from 30 years of firefighting experience with Cal Fire, but even an armchair firefighter can look objectively at the weather conditions that night and realize the challenging conditions of working in a blow-torch of a situation.

Sometimes there is no one to blame for our losses. Sometimes nature wins one.

MARTHA JOHNSON

Santa Rosa

Too much firepower

EDITOR: After each mass murder, people ask why. Reasons may include mental illness, religious fervor, family problems or simple anger and unhappiness. But isn’t a major reason because they can?

Almost anyone can obtain military or semi-military type weapons, legally or not, because there are so many available. Individuals cannot defend themselves, hunt or pursue their sport with atomic weapons, and so a national and total ban on civilian possession or sale of the guns used in so many of these shootings isn’t a radical infringement of the Second Amendment but a simple extension of common sense.

Congress, do your job. You may not eliminate acts like the one in Texas, but you can lessen their number and scope.

DOHN GLITZ

Sebastopol

PG&E’s costs

EDITOR: Jason Wells, PG&E’s chief financial officer, said the utility would seek to recoup power restoration costs from customers under California Public Utilities Commission procedures for rate increases due to “catastrophic events,” but he didn’t offer an estimate (“Restoring power cost PG&E up to $200 million,” Nov. 3).

Why can’t the PUC make a change and charge the stockholders, so they lose on their profitable PG&E stock?

MARTIN WISE

Petaluma

Post-fire lawsuits

EDITOR: I’m disgusted by the lawsuits being brought against PG&E. As hard as it may seem, sometimes no one is to blame. If PG&E had started chopping down trees and tromping through private gardens with chainsaws, not only would landowners be on its back but environmentalists as well.

PG&E is out on our ranch checking power poles more often than we’d like.

This was a perfect storm: the confluence of unprecedented winds, tinder box conditions and bad luck. Instead of emulating our current president and finding a scapegoat, this should be used as an opportunity to make better fire-safe choices, such as exploring the subsidy of underground power lines and better building materials.

Or develop public workshops with Cal Fire on how to make structures more fire safe, design water harvesting systems, use fire-resistant plants in landscaping and develop neighborhood emergency exit plans.

And whatever happened to those emergency sirens we used to hear the first Friday of every month during the Cold War? Those would have alerted just about everyone in their radius.

It’s just plain sickening to watch the vultures circling with full page ads and promises of retribution before the last embers have even died. And guess who ultimately pays for these lawsuits? All of us with higher insurance and power rates.

LESLEY BRABYN

Bodega

Disparaging label

EDITOR: This is in regard to Sunday’s story headlined: “Recreational pot use coming, ready or not.” I searched your online edition and nowhere found you referring to wine, beer or liquor as “booze.” Yet you seem to be comfortable referring to cannabis as “pot.” Aren’t pot and booze in the same categories of slang? Or are you just a sore loser having opposed the legalization of recreational cannabis and now want to cast an oblique shadow? Just wondering.

JIM SPAHR

Lakeport

Metal roofs

EDITOR: I, like so many others, am still in shock over the tremendous losses due to the fires. I have lived in Hawaii off and on over the past 20 years and have an observation. Most all of the roofs there are made of metal. Metal doesn’t burn. It seems obvious to me that planning departments, individual homeowners and businesses should seriously consider the value of metal roofs. They are available in many colors, and you can walk on them, and they don’t leak. They last a long time. From my experience it is a perfect roof material. You rarely see a Hawaiian watering down his roof in the event of a fire. It would be wise to plan on minimizing flammable roofing material in future construction.

JULIAN M. LIFSCHIZ

Santa Rosa

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