Another Evacuation In Lake Arrowhead
To be honest I am glad I am not living in Lake Arrowhead anymore when I receive calls from my mom informing me there is yet another pending fire evacuation in the San Bernardino Mountains. She wanted me to pull up the rimoftheworld.net website so I could read the latest updates for her. After having gone through the October 2003 fires and evacuation I was a little scared to be living in the mountains, but no matter how beautiful the location it is not worth risky life and property. I moved off the mountain in 2006 and thus many of my fears have dissipated, but I still worry about my family living up there because they went through yet another evacuation in 2007. Around 8:00 p.m PDT on October 2, 2008 my mom called to have me look at the rimoftheworld.net website regarding the latest developments. Skyforest was being evacuated because of the fire in proximity of Oakmont Ln. Fires are a real and persistent danger for those living in wooded regions, and one must consider the pros and cons of living in a fire prone region. This hub will be discussing some of the reasons to move out of the fire prone mountains, and why some people persist on calling the San Bernardino Mountains home for life.
Update: As 8:31 p.m. PDT on October 2, 2008 it was reported that the fire was contained in the Skyforest area. I called my mom and was asking her over the phone whether the evacuation was still in place, but she said it was called off as the fire has been contained. Nevertheless, there was widespread panic and traffic was backed up all along the streets near where my sister lived. Is this aspect of living in the mountains worth it? I should say not as I would not want to worry about fierce winds knocking down power lines, which is how the last fire started in 2007. The fire danger all began twenty years earlier with the steady climate change that has taken place in the San Bernardino Mountains over time.
Less Snowfall, Drought, And The Bark Beetle Infestations
The bark beetle became much more of a pest when droughts stopped killing off the barkbeetle population. Bark beetles are known for eating away the bark of a tree, which is the equivalent to a human having skin cancer. Just as a human would need to take precautions such as visiting a specialist, trees with bark beetles must be removed in order to curb the spread of the population. The U.S. Forest Service encouraged people to cut down and remove trees infested with bark beetles, but many people are only part-time residents and did not want to pay for the expense of the removal. Others cut down the trees and failed to remove them right away, which still allowed the bark beetles to continue spreading.
Back in the 1990s before the widespread bark beetle infestations people balked at having to cut down diseased trees. Smog and drought had already weakened many pine and cedar trees in the Lake Arrowhead region, but the bark beetle simply expedited the death of many of these magnificient trees. As a child I love many of our tall pine tree and actually wept to see what drought and the bark beetle did to these lovely organisms, so anyone who claimes there is no global warming should grow up in Lake Arrowehad in the 80's and 90's to learn the real truth.
A hundred years ago the tree were much healthier because they had more space to grow. Over time building of homes and business brought an end to the naturally occuring forest fires. However, the dense forests of trees were not normal because a hundred years previously the naturally occurring fires used to keep the forest in check. Forest fires have always occurred in wooded areas, but residential growth in areas such as the San Bernardino Mountains makes these firestorms a recipe for disaster. Add this on top of the drought, smog, dense forests, conjested housing, and the fire department now has a very real danger any time even the smallest fire starts. By the way all the fires start small and spread like wildfire of course. Firestorms have now become a persistent danger for residents of the San Bernardino Mountains and other wooded/brush areas of Southern California.
The Cons Of Living In The San Bernardino Mountains
* Persistent fire danger.
*Less than adequate rainfall and snowfall.
*Densely built housing.
*Isolated area harder for fire fighters to reach.
*The US not having their own super scooper water planes to combat the fires with.
*Fire fighters are thinly stretched during the fire prone months of the year.
Pros Of Living In The San Bernardino Mountains
* Great public schools.
*Lower crime rates.
* Beautiful Scenery.
*Isolation (For those who want it).
*Located within two hours drive of Los Angeles, the high desert, and the Pacific Ocean.
There are many reasons people decide to go or stay in the mountains. I for one was not excited by the lack of job opportunities and basically I only could be a substitute teacher. Commuting is not for me since I am not a driver, and going up and down on the bus everyday was just not for me. Moving off the mountain was the right move for me and I have a larger variety of opportunities in the valley. However, each person has to decide this for themselves, and my sister believes living in the mountains is a good thing because of the good schools in the area. Several of the schools have been recognized as California Distinguished Schools and children are more likely to get one on one help from teachers than kids would in larger schools.
The public schools are of as high caliber as many private schools down here in the valley, but one must keep in mind this is because of the affluent taxpayer dollars. As socialistic as many may think this sounds, I believe all children are entitled to an excellent education no matter where they grow up, but people are much more likely to get it communities with higher socio-economic demographics. My sister's family is by no means well to do, but living in affluent community with wealthy tax payers ensure they will always attend schools with top notch teachers and adequate resources. This is one of the reasons my sister would never want to move. Another reason is that scenery is beautiful even with all the growth and progress, and even I yearn to just open my door and walk into the woods to be alone during many times of the day. Growing up in an urban area is a very different life, and many are willing to risk living in a fire prone region to reap the benefits of raising their family in a beautiful place. Unfortunately, continue growth and the lack of a building moratorium will eventually alter the the mountains I love, so I think there need to be an end put to erecting so many houses. I still love to visit, but would not live there after the persistent fire dangers.