Thousands of people have over recent years invaded the mountains of southern California and erected their homes. Hotels and businesses are also sprouting in the previously remote area. Structures are coming up at the expense of the trees that had beautifully covered the area. It has however not been a smooth ride for the people living around the county. Mudslides and wildfires have taken the lives of many people and destroyed property worth millions of dollars (McPhee 1989). These catastrophes have left geologists and other stakeholders with one question; should people be allowed to continue living in these mountains? This paper will address the issue, giving reasons why people should not be allowed to erect houses in the highlands of southern California.
Just about a year ago, a massive mudslide happened in Montecito in the Santa Barbara County of California. Many people died, while others got displaced. Homes were ripped apart, and the property was made to flow with the mad down the stream. It forced Santa Barbara County to declare a state of emergency in the local area. The previous fires had burned down the vegetation and left the land open and unprotected. Coupled with human activities in the region the ground was too weak to hold a large amount of rainwater, therefore, making it very unstable when it rains. So when the rain finally poured down, it found most of the land already bare and susceptible. What followed is massive debris and mudflow which resulted in total infrastructural destruction, loss of lives and property, and displacement which made thousands of people become internally displaced. The mudflow disaster at Montecito is not an isolated case. This mountainous region is a disaster-prone area. For example, just a few weeks ago the region suffered a series of storms and ice falls that left a significant part of the state looking grey. Many people were forced to evacuate to safer grounds. The National Weather Service's office in Loss Angeles further made the scare so real when they announced that the bad weather would continue for a while (McPhee, 1989). It meant people had to find an alternative settlement, at least for the time of the scare.
Another disaster that occurred in these mountainous regions last year was the Woolsey Wildfire. It was one of the worst cases of wildfires ever recorded in the history of the United States of America. It spanned a geographical coverage of over eighty thousand acres. It started as a small wildfire but spread very violently to cover the local surroundings, gutting down buildings, homes, schools, and many other institutions. Thousands of people got displaced, and the rescue services got stretched to the limits. Aid services had to seek more funding from the federal and state governments. It resulted in massive losses and destructions. At the end of the rescue operation, it was established that over 88 people had been killed with countless other non-traceable.
The year 2018 may have been one of the worst for the residents of Santa Barbara County, especially for those living in the highland region. However, these disasters are not isolated cases. There have been more cases of mudslides, wildfires, snow falls and storms in the region. Most of these disasters are in a way directly linked to human interference in the area. For example, in the fired case, a man has so far confessed causing the fire. Therefore, the best way to be safe is to remove human inhabitants within the region. Perhaps the federal and state governments should relocate people to other areas (Kunzli & Lurmann,2006). The area should remain a protected reserve, at least to allow the trees to grow and vegetation cover to grow.
Kunzli, N., Avol, E., Wu, J., Gauderman, W. J., Rappaport, E., Millstein, J., ... & Lurmann, F. (2006). Health effects of the 2003 Southern California wildfires on children. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 174(11), 1221-1228.
McPhee, J. (1989). Los Angeles against the mountains. The control of nature, 3-4.
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