What an excellent letter to the editor by Scott Linden on Dec. 19. That should be printed in every Western newspaper.
Many of us throughout the Western states have wondered why fires are allowed to get so big, take so long to attack, and cost millions of dollars. A classic example of American greed! He makes several excellent points. None of us begrudge the firefighters on the ground, and all of us appreciate their hard work. But the millions of dollars going to contractors, the ramp-up to build firefighting camps and small towns is overkill.
Using old commercial or military aircraft that were not designed for delivering water to fires is a great example of waste and their safety record is poor. The Canadians have been using their specially designed CL-415, 1,600-gallon tanker plane with excellent results and no fatalities. A fleet of eight of these — based in Oregon, California and Colorado — would make quick work of any fire. They are STOL (short take off and landing) craft, picking up water on small lakes nearby and dropping on the fire without lengthy flights back to a base to refuel or be refilled.
Linden’s point is poignant. They are not trying to put out fires. The goal is to spend the firefighting budget.
You, the reader, need to let the Forest Service know you value the trails, wildlife, timber and other activities the forest provides other than a place for our federal government to burn money.