The dramatic story on wildland arsonists gives an incomplete picture. The most basic fact about the brushlands of Southern California is that they will burn periodically, whether fires are started by lightning, downed power lines, arsonists, prescribed burns or whatever. The only question is when the next fire will come and how large and hot it will be. One can make a good case that more frequent, smaller fires, no matter from what cause, are preferable to the rarer holocausts.
Given the inevitability of brushland fires, those who insist on living in the vulnerable hills must realize that they are taking a calculated risk, particularly since firefighting resources cannot be expected to be adequate in an extensive fire. To alter an old cliche, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the hills.
D. M. Popper