For those of us who experienced the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego, the comparison between it and the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa are striking. Below are before and after photos of Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa and Scripps Ranch in San Diego.
Unlike 2003, Google Earth has jumped right on the post fire images. It took them about 6 months to have images of the 2003 post fire scenes so all you get is mostly bulldozed lots. With the Tubbs Fire, the images of the charred homes are so clear its almost as if ashes are still smoking. Go to Google now and see the damage. It’s heart breaking. Below are some of those images.
The further we dig into this, the more frustrating it becomes. Here is a pretty thorough article that describes the history of the Fountaingrove development. The article also includes a remarkable video of the devastation taken by a drone.
“But some are asking whether it’s wise to let one neighborhood in particular — the hillside enclave of Fountaingrove — be rebuilt as it was, given that it has now burned to the ground twice in 53 years and wasn’t built according to city rules to begin with.”
The article notes that despite the fire history, fire wasn’t a major concern in the 1970s when the development was first started. But in the ’90s…
“While fire danger wasn’t top-of-mind when Fountaingrove II was approved in 1992, the fire danger in those hills was clear to the developers, said Curt Nichols, a principal in Carlile-Macy, the civil engineering firm that designed most of the neighborhood’s infrastructure. The Oakland hills firestorm, which killed 25 people and destroyed 2,800 homes, happened in 1991, and much work was done to ensure the Fountaingrove area was developed with fire safety in mind, Nichols said.”
Except that the city council approved the development in a designated, “very high fire hazard severity zone.”
Does this help support a claim of criminal negligence?
Postscript. Below is Scripps Ranch, 2017, completely rebuilt. Will the homes survive the next fire?