Letters, July 23
Turn off cars when parked
A few thoughts in response to George Wuerthner’s guest opinion, “ ‘Fuel reduction’ is not the answer to wildfire”:
While I appreciate thinning that has been done correctly with big trees left standing and the understory cleaned up, I agree that “It’s the climate, stupid.” The Almeda fire showed us that unequivocally.
I would like to offer a way all of us can reduce our carbon footprint: we can turn off our engines when our cars are parked. Unbelievably, I recently saw two people in a grocery store parking lot get out of their cars, lock the cars and go inside while the engine continued to run, presumably so that they could return to the cool comfort of their car after shopping. No one else was in the cars, including dogs.
We all see cars every day left running with a person inside waiting while the driver has left the car to do an errand. We also see long lines of cars around schools picking up kids, waiting with their engines running.
Emissions contain carbon, carbon is heating our planet, and a hot planet will have more and more fires. Our mantra should indeed be “It’s the climate, stupid.”
Density increases fire danger
Why do city officials ignore increasing housing density’s contribution to higher fire risk in our local communities and instead recommend removing specific plants and bark?
My house is 4 feet from a wooden fence between my property and the one next door. A house fire next door or in the abandoned orchard down the street on county property, which has not been irrigated in many years, are more immediate fire dangers to my community than my regularly watered landscape.
Consider the Almeda fire and the Bootleg fire. Many houses and businesses with minimal vegetation or bark were lost in the Almeda fire, which occurred in dense trailer parks and housing communities. The Bootleg fire will burn until the fall rains extinguish it.
Fewer homes and businesses will be lost due to the lack of density in such open spaces. Both are tragedies and much should be done to protect people’s homes and businesses, but some measures being considered by the Ashland Wild Lands Commission and other groups are costly, will increase our carbon footprint by removing vegetation that helps to combat global warming and will likely make no difference in a situation with high winds, dry soil and low humidity.
The article on Wilbur Ross (Tuesday, July 20, page A5) makes the comment that “It is a federal crime to make false statements before Congress.” Unfortunately, we can’t hold members of Congress to the same legal standards before the American public.