Letter — Good-old boys grasp for straws
Yet another fire season is upon us throughout the Western United States. The results of factors including but not limited to: More than 100 years of fire suppression and lack of beneficial smaller fires; periods of drought; and here a forest with little or not diversity following the clear-cutting of Silver rush. With more and more people moving into “wildland interface” areas this has resulted in the catastrophic fires we watch every night on the news.
The recent Gondola Fire was a vivid reminder of our own susceptibility to fire. Now the good-old boys in our town are again grasping at straws for another excuse to pour money down the drain (the airport). To the uniformed these non-firefighting experts would have you believe that the airport saved the day! Based on the Tribune’s recent exploits with getting their facts straight before printing an article (the fraudulent Sept. 11 hero) you would think that these boys went to the same journalism school.
Here are the facts: The Gondola Fire burned approximately 670 acres — small considering what is currently burning. At the time of the Gondola Fire there were no other major fires burning in the region thus allowing an incredible amount of resources to be thrown at this fire in a short amount of time. Along with the fact that the fire was burning in an area surrounded by natural fire breaks (ski runs with snowmaking) placed a huge limit on where the fire could actually spread. Yes, air resources played an incredibly valuable role but the air tankers flew out of Minden and Grass Valley where state and federal agencies maintain permanent air bases (at lower altitudes thus allowing less flight constraints in summer heat). Yes, helicopters did use the airport but government agencies fight major wildland fires everyday without the use of airports. Each helicopter crew works in tandem with a mobile fuel truck utilizing fields, farms, and even adjacent ski resort parking lots as helibases. They even reimburse people for using their property. Without the airport they would have merely found another suitable location, not wasted time flying to Minden, and not needed a tower to control the airspace. And remember, the water came from the lake not the airport, Paul.
So, while our city continues to operate in a deficit and vita resources (i.e.: fire department retirement openings; senior center; affordable housing) continue to be neglected, all the good old boys can do is continue to deceive the taxpaying public into spending yet another $600,000 on the airport. Get your facts straight, give credit where credit is due and get a clue.
South Lake Tahoe
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