It never ceases to amaze me what makes the news.

Without doubt the loss of life and the loss of property in Southern California is a tragedy. What sickens me is that it makes so much press without any real consideration of why these fires occur. Instead of pointing out the causes, the media focusses on the great pictures of weeping people and destruction, not to mention nice pictures of huge blazes.

Have you ever heard the line from the song that goes, “it never rains in Southern, California”? This is mostly true (although it does actually rain), because S.C. is a semi-arid landscape. In particular, the ecology of the region is called chaparral, and fire is a part of the natural cycle.

As the population of the region has grown it has expanded out into the chaparral and brought with it the trigger for big fires. Munters.

So what we have is a lot of people, some of whom are idiots, living nice and close to nature. The downside is that when planning is done a the human environment – mostly made of flammable materials – is placed right up close to these great, big, plants that easily dry out and catch fire.

Good one, planning dudes.