I’ve always loved falling asleep to the sound of rain.
But after last summer living in hills so parched they seem about to self‐combust, the rain is more relief than anything else. In dry months, a cigarette ash or spark from a windblown powerline could turn our wonderland into an inferno.
So I asked our fire marshal to help us make our house “fire safe.” This was not a happy conversation. Between our wood siding, collecting leaves and overhanging trees, it’s hard to know where to begin. Not to mention that 400‐acre park that hasn’t burned in a hundred years across the street. 100 feet of defensible space clear of anything flammable? No way.
The fire marshal says, “Your house is built to burn. I wouldn’t live here.”
I ask what we could do and he ticks off a list: Remove our gorgeous trumpet vine, re‐side our wood house with stucco, replace our decks with synthetic material. Cut back all the trees. It’s incredibly expensive.