Like the Petaluma River (Creek Deemed Dirty, Nov. 13), when Stinson Beach and Bolinas were found to be impairing waters of the state more than 40 years ago, we were justifiably threatened with a complete building ban if we didn’t come up with solutions. Bolinas built a low-tech but effective sewer system. Stinson created a septic tank maintenance district, with serious regulations that got stricter over time and an effective inspection program. It looks like the Petaluma River was found to be impaired at about the same time. There is no reason that Petaluma and Sonoma County can’t take the same steps as Bolinas and Stinson did. They could start by requiring houses to be connected to the sewer or to an effective, engineered, septic system at the time of sale and no later than five to ten years out.
Inoculate Your Homes
To prevent communities from being destroyed by wildfires, houses need to be fireproofed.
Normally we depend on the fire department to put out fires. Unfortunately, when wildfires are threatening our communities, the situation is too extreme for the fire departments to fight the inferno. That being the case, each house should be individually fireproofed.
Just as we inoculate people keep them from catching the flu and other serious illnesses, actions must be taken beforehand to prevent buildings from catching fire.
Three things are needed for the fireproofing:
1. Water 2. An installed sprinkler system to cover the house 3. A source of electricity to power the sprinkler system. Since there would not be enough water for everybody, your system needs a cistern with enough capacity to spray over the whole structure.
Because the public electricity grid often goes down in major fires, a small electric generator is needed to power the sprinkler; the sprinkler system should be set up so that it can function by itself after being started. This system would not be cheap, but would cost nothing compared to the cost of replacing the home, to say nothing of the lives lost. Lower insurance rates will help to pay for the “inoculation.”
Another benefit for society: If most buildings installed the fireproofing system, we’d have an innovative industry employing tens of thousands of highly paid skilled workers.