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Old 06-25-2012, 01:38 PM
 
20,835 posts, read 39,036,090 times
Reputation: 19042

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Gag me with a spoon..... with all this talk about people shouldn't live where they want to because there might be a fire. What CRAP.

It doesn't matter what state anyone resides in, Mother Nature is there to kick our ass, and first responders do what they do as THEY understand we're all in this together, that "risk" is everywhere, that as a free nation people are free to live where THEY choose to live (no matter who thinks it's stupid), that this is just the way it is, and that as adults they accept this reality and deal with it like adults. The people who fight these fires are amazing and I'm glad we have so many willing heroic professionals.

From Brownsville, TX to freaking Maine, hurricanes can wreak havoc that's equal to or worse than any forest fire. Not to mention hurricanes have often laid waste to Mexico and Central America.

Densely populated California has all sorts of hazards: earthquakes, fires fueled by Santa Ana winds, mud slides and deep snows in their mountains.

The desert southwest gets temperatures hot enough to fry your brains....

Much of the central part of the nation suffers from tornado's, occasional drought, heat waves, floods along the major rivers, you name it.

Parts of the northeast get lake-effect dumps of heavy wet snow, both along the Great Lakes and in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region, and sometimes as far south at Pittsburgh.

Parts of the south deal with gators, feral pigs, africanized killer bees, fire ants, no-see-ums, wicked humidity, etc.

Much of the east and southeast is subject to crippling ice storms.

Have I left out any part of the nation? Hell no. No region is immune from bad natural karma.

It's like they say about the stock market: you pays your money and you takes your chances.

Everyone is ENTITLED to live where they wish (on privately owned land), so please stop whining and beating that dead horse about people building homes in gorgeous surroundings.


Trouble is found anywhere: the forested "high country" in eastern and western states; every area of coastline from Bellingham, WA to Lubec, ME, plus along the Great Lakes and other lakes, plus along thousands of rivers and water courses; and any place with a great climate or natural beauty.

People deal with whatever issues are present locally: fire clearings around homes in wooded areas; underground shelters in Tornado Alley; raised homes and evacuation plans in hurricane areas; snow blowers around the Great Lakes; homes complying with strong building codes in earthquake and hurricane areas; exterminators for fire ants and bees; etc. Those folks assume the risks and either deal with them or ignore them at their own peril; best that can be done is to educate people on the risks and "fine" them via high insurance rates if they fail to take proper risk-reduction steps.

Hazards are everywhere, so are ways to ameliorate risks. Live where you wish. Be informed. Be responsible.

STOP wasting time blaming victims (and potential victims) of these fires (and earthquakes, hurricanes, and all other hazards).

START attacking underlying causes that created the current fire risks: poor forestry management (maybe deserves a thread in the General US forum); political meddling; over-zealous environmentalists; low funding levels; homeowners not attentive to the risks; climate change and cycles, etc. It's quite disingenuous to blame residents of wooded areas, just like it's cowardly to blame being raped on the woman who is the victim. There are plenty of reasons we have the current situation and IMO residents are the least to blame, as if lack of snow and rainfall is somehow their fault.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 06-25-2012 at 01:47 PM..

 
Old 06-25-2012, 02:14 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,772,192 times
Reputation: 9132
Mike, you almost always fail to recognize a direct cause and effect relationship when it comes to personal responsibility. Sure people should be free to live where they want, IF they are willing to assume the risks that go with it. What we have here, though, in a lot of cases, is a situation where people are more than willing to accept the benefits of living in some pretty mountain spot, but when the responsibility comes to accept the risks and unpleasant consequences of that decision, they shovel that off on the taxpayers--demanding that the taxpayers blindly pick up the tab for their unwise behavior ($29.6 million to date on the High Park fire, just as an example). Yes, I lump people who live in well-identified flood plains or in coastal areas where hurricanes are a near-certainty into the same group. There is a big difference between a very infrequent natural risk--say a tornado, for example, that may strike a certain spot on the earth once in several thousand years--to the risk of a wildfire or flood that may occur likely within a century or less in areas that are almost always easily identified as "high-risk."

You also ignore the fact that the "mismanagement" of the forests was often a direct result of people building stuff in the middle or adjacent to them. Those people often fiercely resist logging or thinning that might mitigate some fire danger because that is "not natural," but then expect the "natural" result of that--a forest fire--to be extinguished at once. The presence of such structures also makes prescribed burning nearly impossible, because there is never a 100% guarantee that a prescribed burn can be sufficiently controlled once it is ignited, as was illustrated earlier this spring. So, the "easiest" thing for forest management people to do is, well, nothing. Then, when major fires do occur, everybody can blame "nature" instead of themselves, the public gets a great big bill for the whole mess, and everything gets rebuilt right where it was before--making sure that a future disaster is a certainty. This is what happens just about every time where public policy allows the benefits of questionable behavior to be enjoyed by the individual, and allows the costs of that behavior to be shifted onto the taxpayers. That is what I call "convenient socialism." You can usually smell it--like a dead horse--when somebody bleats that they should have no infringement on their "private property rights," but then runs like a puppy dog to the government (taxpayers) to make everything nice for them when their ill-advised decisions lead to a bad outcome.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 02:40 PM
 
20,835 posts, read 39,036,090 times
Reputation: 19042
Jazz, we've always agreed that people should take responsibility for living in areas that pose hazards of given sorts. I too am not happy that taxpayers subsidize ocean front homes via various forms of federal aid, which IIRC is having the Army COE use their dredges and/or take steps to replace or limit beach erosion and also federal funds for some sort of insurance.

If people living in areas of increased hazards don't take steps to cover their risks, shame on them. I don't want to bail them out, as bail outs are a sore point right now with most of us, given we are on the hook for bailing out a lot of huge banks and investment houses in recent years.

I'm sure that plenty of owners in the High Park Fire area did take steps to have clear zones around their properties, and I'm sure that some didn't. But we protect them all and IMO that's the right thing to do, and yes, we spread that cost across all taxpayers, one for all, all for one, live where you may. It's not perfect.

I'm not really ignoring mismanagement of forests that seemingly is done IRT those who live there, and it's this form of mismanagement and political meddling, etc, that we need to attack so we can reduce to the bare minimum the risks posed to our very brave people who fight forest fire and also reduce costs to taxpayers. Any solution is going to involve a political quotient and that's going to be both painful and time consuming. Some folks in this thread are totally opposed to any government meddling in this issue, but it would be a start if governments forbid more building until "codes" and "covenants" can be altered to require adequate fire breaks around structures, proof of insurance coverage, a written evacuation plan and whatever is reasonable. I know some people hate "government" but often it's the best way to create a level playing field and change risky behavior. Maybe these are first steps in a long campaign to return sanity to living in risk-prone areas.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,845,869 times
Reputation: 13244
Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
Prayers and thanks to the firefighters out there, protecting "our" private property rights, regardless of whether "our" decisions are sensible or not.
Amen to this. Fire has always been a fact of life in Colorado. I well remember the Storm King fire of 1994, the Buffalo Creek fire after that, the Hayman fire (and many others along with it) of 2002. I'm sure I'm leaving some out.

Mike's right about Mother Nature. While you guys are dealing with flames, we're getting *drenched* out here. I'll be out to visit my former state next month, please stay safe y'all.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 03:53 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,772,192 times
Reputation: 9132
There is a relatively straightforward solution to this problem, but it's one that would not be popular with the folks who don't like taking personal responsibility. It is this:

The US Forest Service should have its fire management mandate changed such that is only responsible for fighting forest fires for the purpose of forest management, and leave protection of private structures on private land to the local fire districts. As for the public lands themselves, the Forest Service should be mandated only to protect those privately owned structures located thereon that are of historical significance, or are public utility or transportation infrastructure--e.g., primary roads, railroads, main utility lines, pipelines, and similar infrastructure. Now, the net result of such a policy would be that local fire districts--faced with the prospect of having to protect structures without a federal "crutch" upon which to depend--would demand that planning be effected to either prevent structures being built in indefensible areas and/or making very clear that people building such structures in indefensible areas do so at their own risk. Private insurers would also carefully evaluate whether or not they would insure structures in such areas and might deny coverage in high-risk areas. All of that deprives no one of their property rights--it just assures that people who build in high-risk areas accept the risk of that themselves.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 04:39 PM
 
Location: on a hill
346 posts, read 391,521 times
Reputation: 454
MFBE wrote:I'm sure that plenty of owners in the High Park Fire area did take steps to have clear zones around their properties, and I'm sure that some didn't. But we protect them all and IMO that's the right thing to do, and yes, we spread that cost across all taxpayers, one for all, all for one, live where you may. It's not perfect.

In the High Park fire, firefighters have been advised to prioritize protecting residences that HAVE mitigated fire hazards around their properties. IMHO, this should apply to all wildfires.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Vermont, grew up in Colorado and California
5,296 posts, read 6,174,254 times
Reputation: 9203
/Morgan/Washington county

Morgan County Sheriff, Police, Fire and EMS Live Scanner Audio Feed

Does not look good for Last Chance, yes I know there is not much there anymore but it was much of my family history.

EDIT: I have read it might have been started by sparks when a tire came off a vehicle

Last edited by Summerz; 06-25-2012 at 07:06 PM..
 
Old 06-25-2012, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,871 posts, read 102,248,055 times
Reputation: 32940
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
There is a relatively straightforward solution to this problem, but it's one that would not be popular with the folks who don't like taking personal responsibility. It is this:

The US Forest Service should have its fire management mandate changed such that is only responsible for fighting forest fires for the purpose of forest management, and leave protection of private structures on private land to the local fire districts. As for the public lands themselves, the Forest Service should be mandated only to protect those privately owned structures located thereon that are of historical significance, or are public utility or transportation infrastructure--e.g., primary roads, railroads, main utility lines, pipelines, and similar infrastructure. Now, the net result of such a policy would be that local fire districts--faced with the prospect of having to protect structures without a federal "crutch" upon which to depend--would demand that planning be effected to either prevent structures being built in indefensible areas and/or making very clear that people building such structures in indefensible areas do so at their own risk. Private insurers would also carefully evaluate whether or not they would insure structures in such areas and might deny coverage in high-risk areas. All of that deprives no one of their property rights--it just assures that people who build in high-risk areas accept the risk of that themselves.
Whatever happened to interagency cooperation, especially at a time of extreme conditions? I am sure insurers take risk into concern.
 
Old 06-25-2012, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,832,501 times
Reputation: 9316
There was mention of tourists in another Colorado thread, but since the main topic of this thread and this article is Colorado wildfires, I'll post the link here: Wildfires leave Colorado tourism high and dry
 
Old 06-25-2012, 09:19 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,772,192 times
Reputation: 9132
While the direct impact of the current Colorado fires--burnt areas, closed off areas, etc.--is very small, the indirect impacts of the drought and fires--poor air quality, low streamflows, brown and quickly browning vegetation, rapidly falling reservoir levels, etc.--are widespread and pervasive. When many people are scraping to find enough money to take even a modest vacation this year, I can't in good conscience recommend that they come to Colorado--at least not until we get some decent rain to lower the fire danger and green things back up a little bit. As it stands right now, forecasts are indicating at least of another week of high temperatures, very low humidities, and little or no rain across most of Colorado. I just spoke to some Forest Service people today who say, candidly, that the probability of even more large fires is "near 100%" until weather conditions change. More ominously, they admit that if the Southwest Monsoon is weak, the fires "will burn until it snows."
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