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Rebirth, angst and the 'new normal' of California wildfires

Posted at 7:38 AM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 11:02:05-05

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — California has long been seen as a golden land of opportunity.

But living with the risk of devastating wildfires is the "new normal" here.

The fires can be enormous and fierce, and it's causing some to flee.

For the many others who remain, it means a life interrupted by electrical outages, the utility company's attempt to prevent power lines from sparking fires in the high winds.

It means readying "fire totes" that contain important documents and keepsakes.

It is food lines and pop-up assistance centers and having counselors and comfort dogs at the ready when children return to school after evacuation.

It is sprinkler installation and built-in tactics to combat fire, trimming vegetation vigilantly and creating "defensible space" around homes, now a regular topic of conversation between neighbors.