There are no absolute assurances that wildfire will not from time to time spill over into settlements, any more than markets won’t fizz and bubble; but we know how to keep such outbreaks from happening routinely. It’s messy, irritating to fundamentalists (both those of the wilderness and of the market), and not cheap. So far, we continue to drop money and fire retardant on the flames. That may not quench the fire but it makes good political theater.
At some point, however, the money will run out completely and it will no longer be possible to pretend that we can rebuild; everything will simply burn to ash. We will have to deal with the landscape itself. The power of fire resides in its power to propagate: you control that power by controlling fire’s environment. So too the power of fiscal contagion requires control over the entire scene.
For the present we’re caught between two nasty fires. It’s time we put some distance between ourselves and both of them. We can’t control the winds, we only know they will blow again.