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Letters, June 5

Almeda aftermath questions

We shall be anxiously awaiting the independent review of the devastating Almeda fire last September.

Along with what was done right and wrong by county officials, we are really hoping that the original cause(s) of the fires is (are) revealed. There is much speculation because we have not heard the definitive answers.

Was it arson, carelessness, an accident? We need specifics to prevent fires in the future.

Also there is much fire debris that continues to mar many areas of Talent and Phoenix, especially seen from Highway 99. Even after these eight months, there are still some business sites that have never been cleaned up.

With free services available to remove the wreckage, isn’t it about time that these cities or Jackson County start fining for properties still littered with fire debris? Where’s our pride in cleaning up the environment to usher in a new era of fire-resistant and visually appealing city structures again?

April Rosenthal

Phoenix

One car or two?

The article about evacuation zones in Thursday’s Ashland Tidings states that 40% of the residents who responded to a recent survey would take more than one vehicle in an evacuation.

Before the Almeda fire, I, too, assumed my husband and I would take both cars in case of evacuation. For one thing, it would be nice to save them from possible destruction. For another, we could bring more of our belongings.

We were caught in the evacuation traffic on the afternoon of the Almeda fire. We were returning from an overnight trip on the North Umpqua River, trying to get home to Ashland. We circled the area in and around Talent for several hours, not knowing where the fire was or where it was going.

We moved at a snail’s pace because of the overwhelming number of cars on the road. At every intersection drivers merged patiently, letting in one car from each of the converging streets. If we’d had two cars, I would have gotten farther and farther away from my husband’s car at every single corner as more drivers came between us. The experience made me extremely grateful we were together in one car.

Also, inching along Highway 99 with flames visible, we knew that we might possibly have to leave the car and walk. That made me wish my belongings were packed in a backpack rather than the suitcase I had packed for the overnight trip.

I was left with two strong recommendations: 1) Take one car so you can stay together if you are leaving with a partner, friend or family member(s). 2) Pack your go-bag in a backpack so that if you have to abandon your car you will have a few essentials with you.

Hoping for the best,

Zoe Laidlaw

Ashland