Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lack of ‘firewise’ measures cost us all

    As the smoke clears from the valley, we begin to see the skill and luck that kept firefighters from being burned alive while trying to defend homes built in high fire-risk areas, or in the case of Greenhorn, homeowners who refused the most basic counsel on adopting fire-safe procedures for their homes. That we paid for it—and will continue to—is incomprehensible.
    As the article in a previous Mountain Express edition pointed out, some would not even allow local fire agencies access prior to the fire to provide counsel on establishing fire-safe zones. “We like it the way it is,” was the quote. That we placed lives at risk and paid to save those places is a travesty.
    At the same time firefighters were struggling to save those massive houses and other structures built in high-risk areas, Carbonate and Croy burned. The west side of the highway north from Hailey is a burned out wasteland in most areas. The mudslides have commenced. It will take years to restore, and the views will not be the same for decades. It will affect real estate prices, seriously affect water quality, wildlife and our way of life.
    If you choose to build or buy in high-risk areas, or if you fail to adopt fire-safe procedures, you take your chances and should not rely upon the rest of us to bail you out with tax dollars. Period. And a question, often heard in the aftermath, needs to be posed: Did we place the lives of firefighters and the city of Hailey at risk to save the homes of the entitled rich while Croy Canyon, Carbonate and the west front burned?
Rich McIntyre


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