Taking a moment early in our new year to highlight two future stories about the Thomas Fire.
First is that the largest wildfire in recorded California history certianly involved enough large and harrowing scenes, and enough heroism, to warrant telling in a movie—especially since it involved what I assume was (and to a small degree remains) the largest firefighting effort ever mounted as well: over 8500 firefighters, from every state west of the Mississippi, and close to 1000 fire trucks and many aircraft, bulldozers and other vehicles, plus miles of fire hoses draped all over a very rough landscape. The story should be about how those firefighters, saved Ojai, Mussel Shoals, La Conchita, Oak View, Much of Dulah, Mira Monte, Wheeler Springs, Santa Paula, Filmore, Carpinteria, Montecito and finally Santa Barbara—after losing enough homes and businesses to comprise a whole town, mostly in Ventura, when the fire began.
Second is that Santa Barbara especially took a huge business hit this holiday season. After the most common sign in the windows of retail establishments was "for lease," the town got smoked out before half its people were evacuated, its parades and other events canceled and visitors headed elsewhere. Thus the "retail apocalypse" became something like the real thing. This is an important business story, and it won't end soon.