For years, families in Black Forest, Colo., did what they could to keep the flames at bay. They scooped up pine needles and trimmed low-hanging branches around their homes. They chopped down saplings and hauled dead trees to the community mulcher.
But when the fire came this week, hundreds of their homes still burned.Maybe the NYT line is "because of climate change, you're all doooooomed," and it creeps into this kind of reporting.
Healy interviewed one (and only one) burned-out Black Forest resident, who said despite mitigation efforts, her family's house was lost. That is a sad thing, but it is not the whole story.
What Healy does not consider is that it's a game of percentages.
Yes, if the wind is blowing hard enough, burning embers might blow through your "defensible space," catch in a deck or under and eaves, and start a fire.
But by creating that space, you improve your chances.
Perhaps more importantly, if a firefighting crew is trying to protect structures on your road, where will they spend their limited time, at the house where much work has been done for them or at the one that would take hours to prepare?
(Some people call those latter houses "burners," as in, "Forget that one, it's a burner.")
As this interesting short video from Black Forest shows, an engine crew could easily protect a home where the trees were thinned, etc., despite one mistake on the homeowners' part.