Cost-Plus-Loss, the Tea Fire, and Al Gore

In the previous post [here] we discussed the concept of cost-plus-loss as it relates to wildfire damage assessment. Specifically we noted that a recent GAO report FAILED to consider potential damages from wildfires in its advice to the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) “Cohesive Strategy” planning process.

All the GAO cares about, and by inference and extension all that Congress and the WFLC care about, is fire suppression expenses. They wish to minimize the amount spent on firefighting. Among their cost-saving strategies: Let It Burn wildfires and a “Leave Early Or Stay And Defend” policy that calls for homeowners to run for their lives or else defend their own properties from wildfires.

To the Federal Government “cost containment” means reducing fire suppression costs.

But to the real world, the costs of wildfires include the economic damages (losses) of the resources destroyed by the fire.

Allow me to segue for a moment. Hot off the news wire: Al and Tipper have just purchased a home in Montecito, CA.

Al Gore, Tipper Gore snap up Montecito-area villa

by Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2010 [here]

Former Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have added a Montecito-area property to their real estate holdings, reports the Montecito Journal.

The couple spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa on 1.5 acres with a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house has six fireplaces, five bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

Sounds swanky, eh?

Montecito just happens to be the site of the Tea Fire [here] in 2008. The Tea Fire burned up a mere 1,940 acres. Suppression costs were $5.7 million. That’s nearly $3,000 per acre, way too steep for the GAO. They’d like suppression costs down around $100 per acre.

The GAO fails to consider resource losses to wildfires, however, which in the case of the Tea Fire were in the $500 million ballpark.

Tea Fire: $500M and counting

Staff report, Pacific Coast Business Times, 22 November 2008 [here]

The embers are out, and investigators have disclosed that Santa Barbara County’s Tea Fire was the result of a foolishly abandoned bonfire.

But for the owners of 210 lost homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara, life will never be quite the same. And with damage claims expected to reach half a billion dollars or more, reconstruction will take years.

Using those numbers, the losses were roughly 90 times the suppression costs.

Imagine if $6,000 per acre had been spent on suppression, and as a result the losses had been reduced by 10 percent. The suppression costs would have doubled to $11.4 million, but only 190 multi-million-dollar homes would have burned, with damages in the $450 million range.

Would you spend $5 million to save $50 million?

That’s the trade-off faced by fire managers. Should they spend a little bit more to save a whole lot more? Logic and rational thinking say yes. The GAO says no.

The GAO wants to punish fire managers who “overspend” on fire suppression. So does the WFLC. So does Congress (an outfit not noted for their financial acumen).

The yabbos who run this country would rather scrimp on fire suppression, even though that means resources losses that are 20, 30, even 90 times the suppression outlays.

We can save a lot of tax dollars by not hiring policemen. Of course, crime would skyrocket and the economic losses due to criminal actions would skyrocket as well. We can turn our southern border into “wilderness” parks with drinking fountains for the Mexican Mafia, saving all that expense of fencing and patrolling the zone. But that might mean murder, mayhem, and economic losses to the citizenry in the umpteen $billions.

Which course of action makes sense to you?

Which course makes sense to Congress?

Notice any disparities?

Al Gore wants to jack your taxes up to the rooftop to pay for his carbon offset scam. That way he can buy $8,875,000 ocean-view villas all over the country while you live under a bridge. His sale pitch? Gloooobal Waaarming!!!!

Either you fork over all you own to Al, or the Earth will burn up.

It’s a farfetched proposition, especially considering that the Earth has been cooling for the last 15 to 20 years, is predicted (by actual scientists) to cool for the next 30 years, and all that Tax to the Max won’t change the temperature one iota.

Just as farfetched is the GAO-WFLC-Congressional notion that pinching fire suppression expenses will “save” money.

I guess it all depends on whose money we’re talking about.

One thing is for sure — Al Gore isn’t worried about another Tea Fire in Montecito. If he was, he wouldn’t have plunked down nearly $9 mil on an Italianate villa there. Or it could be that Al has so much of your money already that he doesn’t give a sh*t whether his new villa burns down or not.

Al was one of the prime movers in shutting down forest stewardship back when he was Veep. He doesn’t believe in alleviating the hazards before the fire. Al doesn’t believe in fighting wildfires, either.

It must be nice to be so stinking rich from a worldwide hoax-scam that you don’t give sh*t whether your own $9 mil villa burns down or not.

One wonders how rich the GAO bean counters are? Are they so stinking rich from robbing the Federal Treasury that they don’t give sh*t whether forests, watersheds, homes, and communities incinerate in their Let It Burn megafires? Do they have private helicopters to flee the holocausts when the “Leave Early Or Stay And Defend” sirens go off? Like Al?

Or are they dumber than dirt?

No need to rack your brain for the answer. Their motivations are inconsequential. What is consequential is the next megafire promulgated by the power elite, and whether you home, job, and family will survive it.

It’s a given that our illustrious bureaucrats are incompetent or worse. It is also a given that predictable, preventable fires won’t be, and more and more Western communities will be severely damaged as a result.

There is a possible solution: flush the Government of incompetents and hire people who know what they’re doing and are willing and able to do it.

Maybe that’s too farfetched, but we could give it a try. Hopefully before it’s too late?



web site

leave a comment

  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta