Are the Southern California fires a real estate story, a global warming story, or a golf story?

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I turned on the TV when I got back to my hotel Tuesday night and somehow ended up on the Golf Channel. They were offering news coverage of the Southern California fires, but purely in terms of which golf courses were affected. Of particular interest was Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, which will be hosting not only the Buick Invitational in January but also the U.S. Open in June. You’ll be glad to know that it appears to be okay.

However surreal this was to watch, you can’t really blame the Golf Channel for focusing on golf (they also reported that Phil Mickelson’s family had to evacuate). But it was a nice reminder of how narrow the perspectives are through which we often view events like this.

There’s the people-we-sorta know perspective: Three of my Google Reader regulars–James Hamilton of Econbrowser, Herb Greenberg of Marketwatch, and Paul Kedrosky of Infectious Greed–are San Diegans. Hamilton and Greenberg had to evacuate, although both are now back home.

There’s the raging-flames-look-cool-on-TV perspective, which determined most of the coverage choices on CNN, Fox News, MSBNC, etc.

There’s the real estate perspective: A colleague suggested I blog about the impact on the fires on the Southern California housing market. That seemed kinda tasteless, but I noticed that it hadn’t stopped others. I just have no idea how the fires might impact the Southern California housing market. They’ve certainly reduced supply in the short-term, but if this starts happening every couple years then demand ought to drop, too.

There’s the LA-and-San-Diego-are-Sodom-and-Gomorrha perspective.

There’s the people-shouldn’t-be-building-houses-in-tinder-dry-canyons perspective. Even if you’re not willing to argue that Southern California is unfit for large-scale human settlement, you can at least make a case for the destruction of Malibu.

From the pages of Time, there’s the Schwarzenegger-is-a-pretty-competent-guy perspective.

And finally, from lots of different sources, there’s the global-warming-is-behind-this perspective.

Any important ones I’m missing?

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