Simi Valley, Ca. where I live is about 50 miles from Santa Barbara so we a get a lot of coverage of the recent fire. Last I saw the tally is 37 homes destroyed and 48 damaged by fire. Thirty thousand were evacuated and the state has spent more than 1 1/2 million dollars so far fighting the fire. Luckily an onshore flow of cool moist air has helped the firefighters get more than 50% containment. This is more and more common not just in Calif. but through out the west and other parts of the country. Homes destroyed and damaged, lives lost or ruined. The cost of these losses is enormous. My question is why can't we do better in fighting fires? We spend untold millions on people and equipment to "defend" ourselves against every conceivable "military threat". Why haven't we invested in equipment and training with an equivelant level of sophistication for fighting fires. Shouldn't we be defended against ALL threats? We fight fires with surplus WWII aircraft. We lease Super Scooper water dropping aircraft from Canada for part of the year. Only Canada is capable of making better firefighting euipment? I don't know what this high tech gear would be but it is inconceivable that we can't do better.