Santa Rosa After the Tubbs Fire

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Roland Dodds

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular inactive at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Maria
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    says:

    I am happy that your home was spared and am so heartened by the generosity of the Bay Area, but the destruction of so many homes and families’ lives is overwhelming. Living in the South Bay, the lack of housing, affordable or otherwise, is also a significant problem and I know the problems we have in the Bay Area will now be even worse. I am not sure of the solution, but I feel strongly that cities and suburbs may need to look at building up more than people would care to admit. People want single-family homes. Heck, I want a single-family home! But to increase housing inventory in the limited available space, higher density has to be an option. Anyway, just a thought about how we might hold on to our economic diversity in our cities and suburbs. In the meantime, my thoughts continue to be with all who were affected by the fires.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m glad that you and yours didn’t have anything bad happen but, at the same time, I feel bad that so many (within blocks of you!) had so very many things lost.

    Survivor’s guilt is probably clawing at you.

    I don’t even really know what to say. It sucks. The system sucks. The incentives suck.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I live about 50 miles south; the smell of smoke was strong (and scary) enough to wake me up and lead me to check the whole house for its source. We had some scares (a brush fire on the opposite side of the hill from us), but nothing that in any way compares. I’m glad you and your family got through it OK.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    Fires are more frequent in my part of California, but they’re usually brush burning in the hills. So I too would probably have not paid much heed to that distinctive who-started-smoking-all-of-a-sudden smell. Santa Rosa was like few other fires in recent memory, with so much of the city gone. I had not realized it was a full five percent of the housing. Particularly scary was the speed with which this fire line moved, taking houses before some people were even aware there was an issue.

    Roland I’m very glad your home made it and my heart (and charity dollars) have gone out to those not so fortunate as you. Like a lot of middle-class Californians I have happy memories of coming to your community to enjoy the wineries (though I was last there before I met your electronic acquaintance).

    One thing that Santa Rosa does have going for it is the incredibly warped dynamics of housing prices in and around San Francisco itself, the same dynamic that turned Santa Rosa into a bedroom community in the first place. And hopefully the agriculture and tourism were not so hard hit as to permit the wine that was once the centerpiece economic engine of the community to be so once again.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    I sincerely hope you and your neighbors can put your lives back together in a reasonable time. If California’s insurance structure is like Colorado’s, be prepared for a rude shock on your home owner’s insurance in a couple of years when these losses get folded into local insurance rates.

    One of the things that struck me in the photo of the foundations, and this similar photo after the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs a few years ago, is how the houses are packed together. In my experience, this is a very Western thing — suburbs/exurbs, with few exceptions, are houses per acre, not acres per house. A friend recently moved from his home in the woods that was closer to downtown Atlanta than Santa Rosa is to San Francisco. I was startled when I found out how many acres he had, and how little that land was worth compared to the house.Report

  6. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    You have my sympathy, I hope that your community can build back better than before though, like Maria above, I suspect that rebuilding more densely is the best shot at keeping housing units affordable for middle class people.Report

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