Wild Fire Aftermath

Well, it’s another wild fire season here in Santa Clarita Valley, already three small and one larger sized fire.

Having volunteered in wildfire cleanup-I noticed that my skin developed a stubborn rash afterwards.  I was not surprised to find a related article in this month’s Plumbing Engineer magazine.  Author BF Nagy mentioned how building materials that had burned deposited ashes all over the place and these ashes wound up (of course) getting into our water supply.

For humans, this means that random chemicals have appeared in larger quantities in our water supply.  Note that water treatment facilities across USA are sophisticated, but they are not equipped to handle all contaminates effectively. this comes as a shock but it is true. The most notable contaminate Nagy brought up was benzene-something known to cause cancer and certainly NOT something one intakes for nutrition.

For nature-wild animals have a hard time with all these contaminates too-the predators (like owls, eagles, coyotes) that eat the dying rats, mice, etc wind up amassing larger quantities in their bodies.  Once they decline in numbers, new generations of pests have an easier time thriving.

One answer to this mess is to encourage people to be very careful about not throwing cigarette ashes out car windows.  Another might be to build buildings with fire resistive natural building products.  For me this would mean specifying copper and cast iron plumbing more often that plastic pipe.  For architects and interior designers-there are quite a few options.

Press and lawsuits have identified electrical powerlines as instigators of several wildfires.  This is something that municipalities should consider when they outlaw natural gas (claiming it natural gas is dangerous and implying the electric is not).

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