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San Diego Firestorm Recovery (Persuasive Essay)

864 words - 3 pages

"FIRE!" The call rang out through the state of California that fateful day in October 2003. My personal experience felt harrowing; I was trapped on the I-15 freeway with my 5 month old in the car. Police and Firefighters rerouted traffic and turned us around. I vividly remember driving North in the Southbound lanes and seeing flames in my rear-view mirror. The nightmare did not end so quickly for the scores of other people whose homes burned down that day, or in the next 45 days that the Cedar and Paradise fires raged out of control in Southern California. In all, 17 people were killed and 145 were injured. The area burned was 329,946 acres - greater than the size of the entire state of New Jersey. (San Diego Firestorm Community Recovery Team, 2003) A crisis of this magnitude had never before been experienced in San Diego County. Local fire fighting teams were unprepared and under-equipped for the ferocity of these fires. The weather was a critical aspect in battling the flames. When the fires began, high temperatures and raging Santa Ana winds drove the fires with extraordinary fury. Firefighters were able to bring the flames under control finally, when the weather changed and brought milder conditions. (OES Planning and Technological Assistance Branch, 2004, p. 8)Fast-forward two years to the present day, many of the elderly, poor, and underinsured residents of San Diego who lost their homes have yet to rebuild. They are still struggling with the burdens of trying to rebuild their homes in a climate when insurance, construction, and finance companies call all the shots. The process for rebuilding homes lost in the fires is challenging and laden with stress - even for those families who had adequate insurance. Support from the community has diminished significantly, as the memories of the horrific firestorms fade from our minds.The communities struggling most today are in the unincorporated rural areas of east San Diego County, where poverty levels tend to be higher. In the the Scripps Ranch and Tierrasanta areas, which are section of the city of San Diego, There were 317 homes destroyed. 93% are rebuilding or are already living in new houses. (Krueger, 2005) In the unincorporated areas of the county, only 49% have new homes or are rebuilding. Approximately half have not yet started construction. The rest are stuck in the red tape processes of getting their plans approved. There is a stark contrast between the flood of rebuilding in the city and the delays for residents in the back country areas.According to the San Diego Community Recovery Team (CRT), Seniors citizens owned the majority of uninsured homes, many of whom...

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