Every burned town is tragic. But Newsom needs to lead with science, not sentiment.
In July, in an editorial in my local paper—East Bay Times—Mark Bendixen recounted an experience he had with a fire-prevention activist during a “burning day:”
“There we were, in my car, trying to park at an elementary school. There was a fire truck coming by, and my friend explained in a calm, quiet manner the dangers of a hot car engine and the fire that would inevitably result.
“The fire-prevention activist seemed to think this was some kind of emergency and she was going to ‘save’ us by driving us away in her car. She calmly got out of her vehicle, said in a very loud voice, ‘I’m on my way to save us,’ and proceeded to drive toward and pass my vehicle. She had her hands on the steering wheel, ready to run me down, and she was standing on the shoulder of the road, waving for us to get out of her way.
“I was just about to get out and jump out of the car and run, but she was right on the side of the road yelling, ‘Get out of my way! Get out of my way!’ and I couldn’t do it. The fire truck had blocked the main street. She waved to us again, and we were forced to get out of her way. She then calmly walked to our car, opened the door, jumped out, shut the door, and walked back to where I was still sitting in my car, standing on the street directly across the street. She stood by the window next to the door to my car, and I looked out and she made a quick move to get in the car, but she was stopped by the fire truck. She then came back and made an abrupt move to the side of our vehicle, in the hopes of getting in. They stopped her again, and she walked to the driver’s window, opened the door, and then jumped back into the car. With the fire truck blocking the street, she had no choice but to drive the car backward and forwards, back and forth across the street while she shouted for us to get out of her way.”
This incident was just one of many in which a fire-prevention activist, or “museum” as she calls herself