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Letters to the Editor, May 18

Controlled burn program overzealous

My pulmonologist told me on a visit this week that the number of asthma diagnoses skyrocketed this past year due to smoke from the wildfires. Of course, to get to Medford Monday morning I was witness to the heavy smoke blanketing our valley from the “controlled” burns in the Ashland watershed.

Since the night before, after coming out of the SOU theater to the smell and sight of heavy smoke, I suspected that yet again our controlled burns were probably a bit (at least) overzealous.

I understand the importance of the Lomakatsi program. Unfortunately, I think it is not been carried out well enough. Either the burns are too large or, perhaps, optimal weather conditions are not being taken into account.

My fears are that tourism, home prices, and our community’s health are being harmed by this overzealous program. It feels as though this program goes on year round now (except for fire season), with at least low levels of smoke and, too much of the time, increasingly hazardous smoke levels invading out valley.

In conclusion, I’m hoping that the program can be modified, while still effectively accomplishing its intended purpose.

Diane Werich