Will it happen here? Why live in a fire zone? As a visitor, I see the houses pushed into dry scrubland with their flammable eucalyptus trees and shudder inwardly. Expensive water piped from the Colorado River (and leaving Mexico only a muddy trickle) is used to water every boulevard for lush greenery, sometimes a ground cover of 20-cm high succulents known as “ice plants.” It’s a fire retardant, say the inhabitants.
Are you more likely to get mugged or run over? Which do you worry about? In Toronto, about sixty people a year are murdered. That makes headlines and there’s great indignation. About sixty pedestrians a year are killed by cars. Somehow there’s no indignation about the latter. Instead, there’s a grumble about the one or two cyclists killed by cars–even though every day I see cyclists doing risky, unpredictable manouevers such as riding on and off sidewalks and pushing to the right of cars turning right. How on earth do we estimate what’s dangerous?