Fire commanders say they are often pressured to order planes and helicopters into action on major fires even when the aircraft won’t do any good. Such pressure has resulted in needless and costly air operations, experienced fire managers said in interviews.
The reason for the interference, they say, is that aerial drops of water and retardant make good television. They’re a highly visible way for political leaders to show they’re doing everything possible to quell a wildfire, even if it entails overriding the judgment of incident commanders on the ground.
Firefighters have developed their own vernacular for such spectacles. They call them “CNN drops.”
Of course, you’re still expected to entrust your property to the people who waste resources staging useless, theatrical water shows for the TV cameras. Forget about taking steps to fight an approaching wildfire yourself. You’ll likely be arrested. Want to hire a private firm to provide extra fire protection? That may soon be illegal too, thanks to the Naomi Kleins of the world, who’ve deemed private fire protection “disaster apartheid.”
California may burn due to government incompetence and leftist egalitarianism. But at least everyone will burn equally.