Well, we can all look forward to having President Bush shower the people who live in the picturesque hills, valleys, and forests of Southern California with our hard-earned tax dollars. Why should we have to rebuild their communities? Why do we continue to allow communities to be built/rebuilt in areas that are clearly highly susceptible to natural disasters? It's no secret. Everyone knows these areas will burn. Everyone knows New Orleans will flood again. But yet we allow, even encourage, rebuilding in these areas at the same time we know that lives will be lost and billions of dollars of property destroyed. If people are intent on risking their lives and property in exchange for the benefit of living in a wonderful climate with beautiful surroundings, so be it. But why should we, who choose to live in a safe, but not so pretty flatland environment, be obligated to subsidize others' risky choices?
Does sprawling low-density development play a key role in the loss of lives and property? Could a wildfire actually devour a higher-density urban development, or is it only because of the relative sparseness of buildings, likely imposed by zoning ordinances, in these outlying areas that allows the fires to continue devour everything in their path. Rather than spreading homes throughout such a large area, would not a more concentrated area of development be much less susceptible to fire, and also better equipped through public water lines, to suppress such a fire?