Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Smokey says "Only you can prevent forest fires."

I was at a friend's vineyard this past weekend, waiting for him to finish cutting the grass between the rows. Sad thing is that this was the second time this year he's mown.

With the large amount of rain we've had, and the lateness into the season that it's progressed (Yes, there's even showers forecast for today through Thursday...AGAIN!), there's not only the potential for grape crops to be affected but also for a much higher than normal fire danger this summer.

The Geysers Fire smoke plume from space

We've just gotten through two fires in Napa and Sonoma counties last year, and this season has the possibility for even more fuel to be available up in the hills from all the wild grasses getting these extra shots of rain. Luckily the Rumsey and Geysers fires both were contained and extinguished, but there could be more damage this year to both real property and grapes planted on the ridges (hopefully there will be no injuries).

We may get lucky and avoid any fires this season...then again we may not. With more and more people attracted to the idea of living in the wine country, and the attractiveness of the pocket canyons and ridges for 'trophy homes' amidst vineyards, there's a good reason to believe that the financial costs associated with wildland fires in northern California will continue to climb. And that people searching for their little slice of Eden will continue to put themselves in harm's way.


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