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Heckava Job — Why Now?
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Heckava Job

For the record:

The largest movement of people in the US has to be the evacuation of Coastal Texas and Louisiana in anticipation of hurricane Rita in 2005, which was estimated to be between 2.5 and 3 million people.

The evacuation of approximately one and a half million people for hurricane Katrina is second.

Hurricane Katrina is the costliest natural disaster in US history at an estimated $86 billion dollars [2007 dollars]. Mississippi alone lost about 1.3 million acres of forest to Katrina.

On an individual level it makes no difference if you lose your home in an individual fire, or as one of a thousands lost to a wildfire or hurricane – you lost your home and everything in it. Ultimately the disaster is just as devastating to the individual whether it affects just their family or everyone in their town.

The San Diego wildfire has more in common with the loss of the World Trade Center than Katrina. In San Diego and New York the infrastructure was still in place with governments still able to function. Both occurred without warning and displaced massive numbers of people, but there were places to go to receive assistance and the medical and emergency facilities were still intact. Both occurred within single counties in a single state, reducing coordination problems and allowing neighboring jurisdictions to offer assistance quickly.

The truth is that in reviewing what has happened in San Diego county and the other wildfire areas around the West, it would be better to concentrate on those types of disasters instead of making comparisons to other types. The first step might be to implement the lessons learned from the 2003 fire season, before looking at hurricanes or terrorist attacks.