The year of confronting climate change
Aside from the coronavirus crisis and political upheaval, 2020 is confronting the climate change challenge. These past few weeks, California fires directly caused by humans have been exacerbated by dry forest conditions.
The 3.5 million acres burned by nearly 8,000 wildfires in California are not just another unfortunate event of this year – they’re sparks of increasingly common and more severe wildfires in the years ahead.
Starting college in California last year, I loved the environmental awareness and political advocacy in the atmosphere but hastily evacuated in March. As I sit at home, I wonder when I can ever return to campus and breathe in the fresh air without a mask because of respiratory viruses or wildfire smoke.
Fire safety trumps tree protections
The headline “Hills commission supports expanded tree protections” gives the wrong impression (Town Crier, Sept. 9). The Los Altos Hills Planning Commission raised serious concerns and directed staff to thoroughly rework the proposal. There was widespread concern that the current ordinance protects too many small, crowded trees that pose a fire hazard.
Proponents cite goals like “preserving our heritage” and “promoting the environment,” but the proposal undermines both. What’s natural here is an open landscape dotted with trees, like the Stanford Dish area today. The density of trees today is unnatural. There is nothing more noble behind this proposal than a preference by some for a wooded landscaping style.
Proponents ignore the fire hazard posed by a wooded landscape in a dry-summer climate.
Proponents have recommended restricting the removal of the Deodar cedar and promoting a large juniper to protected “heritage” status. Both species are famous for their flammability. Residents doing construction have been required to plant closely spaced trees that violate defensible space rules.
It is past time to become serious about fire and set landscaping preferences aside.
Los Altos Hills
Masks, quarantining show common sense
My wife and I used our common sense to wear masks and gloves starting in March, when clerks did not wear masks.
My son and his wife needed to stay with us for two nights. We have a bedroom/bathroom with access to a back door.
We all wore masks and ate at chairs outside. We did not enter their bedroom/bath for two weeks.