Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fires are part of the California environment

As a child, I once read a book about settlers in the west who had to keep a strip of land cleared around their home in case of fires. Of course, what I know now, living in California, is that keeping the brush cleared is only the most basic line of defense and not much help when gale-force Santa Ana winds are carrying sparks far and wide. As people move further out into the desert, both low and high (our higher altitudes are dry here, too), they need to be aware that fires are a fact of life here and be prepared to live accordingly.


After the Northridge quake, southern Californians became very aware of needing earthquake supplies. But we also need plans on how to react to a big fire. The other evening, a couple on the news said that they decided to leave when their dual pane windows got hot to the touch. They were extremely lucky that firefighters managed to bring that section under control just in time. Quite frankly, I would have been gone before then. Yes, I love my house, but my family (2 and 4-legged members) are more important. Also, firefighters are more important than my house. If homes are still occupied, firefighters no longer have the option of getting out and looking for a better spot to hold the line. They have to waste their time rounding up the stragglers.


Some people think it's a good idea to stay behind and water their property. Well, a few people have survived with their homes intact, and some haven't. Since our property has a number of trees, I don't think I'd take the chance. After all, when trees are exploding in flames, I don't think a garden hose is going to do much.


So when you're looking at a home on the side of a hill with a gorgeous view and only wilderness behind, look to see how you'd get out in a hurry if you had to and ask about insurance deductibles. Buy it if you love it, but don't forget the terrain, the drought, and the winds are here to stay.

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