|There has been a long term trend in CA population going back to post WWII. At first Easterner American born population dominated immigrants to this state. Starting around the tight money times of the 1980s. California residents started migrating within the state and out largely driven by desires for improved quality of life issues. This was when people started leaving the suburbs for the abundant country opportunities where open land was more available, a lot of it hill country in natural state. Lots of oak forests with underlying brush. This trend continues through to today. People leave the suburbs selling out typically to foreign born workers who bring lots of wealth to the transfer pushing the value of the old ranch 3X2 tract housing through the roof. These new owners are the Chinese, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, and many other ethnic groups. |
So we have ended up with a generally older population living in more rural settings in a state that is typically extremely dry from late April to November/December every year. These people are not clearing their land and planting crops. They are often older retirees who have let their property and surrounding area over grow with brush and trees. Some are tree huggers of course but not all. The waves of retirees and people who get dissatisfied with the suburban lifestyle has increased over the decades. This trend has continued to increase with time.
On top of these trends has been the trend to do nothing about the forest due to the Smokey Bear philosophy of minimal fire use in forested areas. National Forest management also followed a do nothing approach to land management until recently when thinking started including fire as part of the over management plan.
The people don’t live in the forest but on the edge of it generally bellow the snow line, from sea level to about 4000 feet. The forest transitions from pine trees at around 4000 feet down to about 2000 then the oak trees start taking over and these grow down to about 100 feet. So the lowest hills still have big spreading oaks mixed with native grasses and other weeds. It takes work or money to clear land and maintain a low fire risk.
Now let dispel another idea. California is not fully built out. It’s population could double or triple easily depending on people’s tolerance for density of living. I’m seeing trends toward what I consider extreme density but other people either like it or are used to it. The Central Valley is prime agricultural land. Flat with rivers. Developers see it as land that should be developed turning it into expanding suburbs or increasing density living.
Wind is normal. Breaking power lines is a somewhat new phenomenon. A bankrupt PG&E is a new normal.
Thousands of home acquiring generators and multi day gasoline supply is a new normal that the state government will probably want to oversee somehow.