I agree that there are personal tradgedies playing out all over So Cal - and I wish they could be avoided.
The harsh truth is that periodic burnouts are part of nature's cycle. When we build homes in areas subject to risk, we have to accept that risk.
Like most of you, we have friends in affected areas, and we hope with all our hearts they come through it OK. Our home is open to them if they need a refuge, and they know it.
But when the winds kick up in a dry climate, even with mitigation rules about clearing brush near one's home and keeping bushes out from under eaves, and all of the other rules, requirements, and recommendations, homes will be lost.
Some of you may remember the Mailbu fires of 20 or so years ago, or the Oakland Hills fire in the Bay Area - then there were the fires in 2003 - it's going to happen again and again. At least this time there were more emergency plans in place. Each time the state goes through this, it gets a little better at addressing it. I only wish the Katrina response, which affected my family, had been as good.