What has been done?
Residents of Sonoma County reacted to the destructive fires of the last few years in many admirable ways. Neighbors helped one another after entire blocks of houses were destroyed, people pitched in to distribute food and clothing, and there was a general groundswell of support and enthusiasm for Sonoma Strong.
Local governments and the Board of Supervisors, as well as nonprofit groups dedicated to the health of Sonoma County's land and wildlife, have studied the problem, issued reports, and, in a few cases, taken some action to help mitigate the effects of these fires. Yet year after year, wildfires reappear in the late summer and fall, burning through tens of thousands of acres and setting off a predictable response: CAL FIRE fights the blazes with hundreds or thousands of firefighters; residents race to escape the fires, hurriedly packing their go-bags, pets, and precious possessions; and the community lives through another crisis, with ashes falling like snow and the air thick with smoke.
Aggressive steps need to be taken to reduce the yearly devastation. In some cases, there have been actions deemed to be wrongheaded, such as PG & E's wholesale tree toppling, leaving huge trees on private property to dry out and become even greater fire hazards. PG & E has stated that they've cleared 130 miles of vegetation around power lines in neighborhoods and communities that face the most extreme wildfire threat, under new accelerated wildfire safety work, though they have not described how they've done this clearing.