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California has always had Santa Ana winds. So why aren't our power lines buried yet?

California has always had Santa Ana winds. So why aren't our power lines buried yet?
Santa Ana winds blow up sand against a lifeguard station at Huntington State Beach on Monday. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: May I say the obvious? All electrical lines in California should be buried and should have been buried a long time ago.

Why haven’t we accomplished this by now? Any requests for the electric utilities to pay up for the last fires should be amended to insist that those funds be used to bury electric lines.

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Even if we haven’t lived through the fires ourselves, we have known for at least 70 years about sundowner winds and the wildfires that accompany them. Ever since Raymond Chandler wrote “Red Wind” in 1946, or we read Joan Didion’s “Los Angeles Notebook” in 1967, all Angelenos have known “what it means … that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio passes blowing up sandstorms out along Route 66, drying the hills and nerves to the flash point.”

And yet, 50 years later, I have a wooden pole with eight wires hanging off it not 100 feet from my house in a hillside fire-risk zone.

Sarah Starr, Los Angeles

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