Friday, June 20, 2014

Fire roulette


    Congress is playing Russian Roulette with the West, and the gun’s chamber is spinning.
    Congress has failed to allocate enough money and manpower to fight wildfires this year—even though elected officials have known full well since last winter that demands on federal firefighting resources would be extraordinary in the face of record high temperatures and drought conditions in the West.
    Experts told Congress early on that this year’s costs for fighting wildfires on lands controlled by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service could hit $1.8 billion. Yet, funding is short by 26 percent, or $470 million. That’s a lot of boots on the ground, a lot of flying time and a lot of fire retardant.
    A partial solution—to make disaster funds available for fighting fires—is still sitting in committee despite bipartisan agreement on the need for it
    Yet, no one—including Idaho lawmakers—is sounding alarmed about the situation even though Idaho’s wildfires ignite toward the end of the fire season when money becomes scarce or nonexistent, and firefighters are tired.
    Wildland firefighters don’t grow on trees. Fighting wildland fires is a science that requires training, expertise, experienced judgment and lots of manpower. No one can just grab a garden hose and have any chance of stopping a big wildfire.
    Waiting to fund wildland firefighting is simply stupid. This isn’t just an “ain’t it awful” situation. Wildfires devastate communities, which the Sun Valley area recently found out the hard way—twice.
    Since January, California has had 1,244 wildfires, three times the normal average. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the West. What is Congress is waiting for?
    Waiting and hoping it will rain is a fool’s solution—like hoping the hammer won’t come down on the loaded chamber in the deadly game of Russian Roulette.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.