Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fire Season

2008 is turning into a bad fire season in Central Florida. I can't remember the last time we had any rain to speak of in our neighborhood. The grass in our backyard crackles when you walk on it. In the past few days we have had very strong west winds (I think of that as the "fire wind") bringing extremely dry air to fan the flames of the dozens of wildfires burning in various places throughout Central Florida.

On the news tonight they said that approximately 140 homes have burned. I-95 is closed in a couple of places. I don't know how many people have been evacuated from their homes; many of them are staying in shelters. People who ordinarily get to work via I-95 have to take alternative routes, which clog surface streets.

All of that is bad, but fire season in Florida is sort of like hurricane season: it's a part of the regular weather pattern. If you live here, you have to deal with the risk of wildfires.

The problem is that the fires burning in Central Florida were not caused by heat lightning or other natural causes. Most if not all the fires burning in our neighborhoods resulted from arson. Somebody thought it would be fun to set a fire. Was it a prank? Was it done in an effort to get attention or to be on TV? Was it simply malicious destruction? Whatever the cause, there can be no justification for such senseless violation of property and endangering lives.

Despite my usual bleeding heart liberal positions on most things, when it comes to looters after a disaster or arsonists, to use an old expression from the Wild West: Hangin's too good fer 'em.

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