In the wake of the Thomas Fire, now the largest wildfire in California history, neighborhoods and communities are coming together, some for the first time, trying to figure out how to better be prepared for another emergency of this magnitude, asking ourselves collectively, “What could we have done better?” Southern California is expecting another earthquake, after all.
The answer is relatively simple: Be a good neighbor.
A good neighbor isn’t just bringing over a basket of oranges and a bottle of wine to the new family moving in down the street (although that is ALWAYS a good idea), but rather, being a good neighbor is maintaining and respecting your corner of the world, especially where it’s likely to effect others.
Trim your trees. Clear your brush. Curate your impact on the community.
The only reason our house survived the fire was because of the selfless work of teams of firefighters working through the night. When I returned to the house, they told me the maintenance and care for the property gave them an advantage, but had the fire jumped to our neighbor’s neglected orange grove, the losses would have likely been extensive to the entire area. (Don’t worry, that grove is currently being cleared!)
Be a good neighbor.
Even if you want to be a good neighbor in the vain of Robert Frost, “good fences make good neighbors,” you must remember that those neighbors in Mending Wall, apples and pines, communicated with one another, met, and walked the wall, rebuilding it together.