California spends billions rebuilding burned towns. The case for calling it quits
Updated: January 6, 2013
(See complete update at bottom of page.)
A story out last week of a San Juan County woman who lives in a house that was almost totally destroyed by wildfire shows how devastating the fire was. The story also raises the question of whether the federal government has the means to help rebuild the towns in California that have been burned by wildfires.
By now, most people may have heard of the fire that ravaged San Diego in November, which destroyed a few hundred homes and forced nearly 10,000 people from their homes.
The story of the woman who lost her home because of a wildfire is not a new one. But what happened in San Juan, which took place early in the fire season, is a completely different story. It was a very small home fire on a rural property on the edge of a desert near the mountains of East San Diego and the community of San Juan Bautista.
The U.S. Forest Service did a great job of keeping the flames at bay and fighting the blaze in the neighborhood of San Juan, San Diego. It was so well-mannered that firefighters didn’t even need to use a megaphone. They did it all by burning out brush and trees.
The woman, whose name is Diane Stokes, lived alone in the burned-out home. She says she had nothing left but the clothes on her back. She was a single mother who was taking care of her disabled son. So she lost everything.
She had to sell her house and move out of the area.
This isn’t so different from other communities in the area that have suffered huge fires of this type. But what happened to Diane Stokes is very different than the way she was treated in other communities. The East San Diego fire was no ordinary fire.
Diane Stokes lost the house she was in and moved to another one, which was also destroyed by a fire. St