“On this perch of volcanic red earth, where gold mining gave way to logging and logging gave way to apple growing and apple growing gave way to suburbia, a misplaced place had arisen. What to call the experiment? If you counted the sprawl up the mountain that followed the original sprawl on the hill, 40,000 people lived atop a geologic chimney. Though the citizens through the decades were unable to muster the collective will to contain the growth, they did not proceed out of ignorance of the dangers it courted. Rather, they chose to forget about the last drought, the last flood, the last wildfire.” Mark Arax in California Sunday Magazine: Decades of greed, neglect, corruption, and bad politics led to last year’s Paradise fire, the worst in California history. It should never have happened. It will happen again.

+ NYT: For eight hours last fall, Paradise, Calif., became a zone at the limits of the American imagination — and a preview of the American future.