Home | About | Donate

By Accident of Fate: The Fires in Paradise

By Accident of Fate: The Fires in Paradise

Debi Smith

I breathe dead people. The words ran unfettered across the chalkboard of my mind as I drove the curves of Oregon Route 66 back down into Ashland. It had taken nearly a week for the haze to blow north into our valley from the horrific and devastating Camp Fire that was burning three hours south.

Do not forget that the fire also hit the Santa Susana Nuclear research facility. This was one of the most contaminated sites in the USA having had several nuclear accidents occur at the same. Fires released these into the atmosphere wherein people living many miles downwind are no breathing radioactive isotopes in.

The Government has officially stated there no risk from this but this the same Government that lied about the scale of the Nuclear accidents that happened there in the first place.

(Yes it was mentioned in the article but the dangers posed IMO are very high and the Government can not be relied on to give an honest assessment of the same)


HI SuspiraDeprofundis: the government states “no risk.” Yeah right. The homes in the area have suffered from all kinds of cancers, and in clusters in the nearby neighborhoods. YES, we want to know, Corporate ones…just WHAT was burning and why has a children’s camp been there for years? Children getting cancer adults getting cancer-------something is rotten in the state of corporate America.


Thank you for the quotes from Brainy Quote, TomJohnson1
I like this Oppenheimer one : " The people of the Earth must unite or perish."


Thanks particularly for the link to the Santa Susana disaster. I wonder how many similar I might not know about.

Blowing the radiation out of damaged plants is actually routine in a lot of circumstances. Once the plant is shut down, there is normally no financial penalty for doing so, and you can probably see why people who will work inside the plant might regard it as a good idea.

Meanwhile–yes, it might be a good idea to stop making buildings out of toxic and flammable materials. California really does not have trees to burn, and very many people killed or damaged by urban fire in all sorts of situations are damaged by poison gases from burnt chemicals. There’s no particular reason that this needs to be regarded as normal.

One of the great building materials on Earth is earth itself. There are several ways that residents of California could make for themselves fire-resistant and earthquake-proof housing with earth, some of them with surprisingly little else. These have considerably superior climate control in Mediterranean, most desert, and many inland climates because the thermal mass can be used to store heat from the day and cold from the night, so that temperatures within level out considerably.

This would reduce California’s need to generate electricity considerably. By far the greatest swelling of energy use in Southern California comes when people turn air conditioning on in summer. Properly designed earthen homes remain comfortable with passive cooling, and some remain warm in winter, heated by passive solar gain.

Earthen homes can be non-toxic if nothing is added to them, and they do not burn. They do retain heat, just like an old-time earthen oven, so it is not as though fire ceases to present any risk at all. But they will fire like porcelain before they will burn (see Racing Alone, Nader Khalili, references to geltaftan).

Some of these homes cost considerably less to build than contemporary McMansions, and most of the cost in most cases is labor, not materials.

In many places, though not all, the biggest obstacle are state, county, and municipal coding enforcers, who are unsurprisingly befuddled and wary about styles of architecture that clearly were not considered when codes were written.

Still, Cal-Earth has plans that have been legally cleared in San Bernardino County and various other places. And many states and counties allow all sorts of construction, particularly in rural areas. Earthship Biotecture has a map of Pockets of Freedom–places that have been confirmed as allowing different sorts of architecture (http://earthship-academy-experience.tumblr.com/post/44392980404/crowdsourcing-pockets-of-freedom-using-google-maps).

In very many though not all cases, using one or another of these options costs far less than buying a conventional house.

1 Like

I see arial photos of burnt houses and cars w molten aluminum surrounded by green trees. That is not a forestfire. The houses must be ignited by something else

Would earthen homes maintain structural integrity during earthquakes? Hay bale houses would, if impaled by steel rebar during construction, but I don’t know about earthen ones.

Propane tanks explode and would provide a serious heat source.

If done correctly, they can compare very favorably with current construction. The Cal Earth domes and vaults have been tested extensively and test far better than stick houses.

The institute itself is just a couple of miles off of the San Andreas Fault in California.