William Hamilton: Wildfires, we are a major cause
Grand County, CO Colorado
You can sum up the results of a thorough Internet search of all the recent devastating wildfires caused either by government action or government inaction with Walt Kelly’s great Earth Day cartoon in which Kelly had Pogo say: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
While lightning strikes are the most common cause of wildfires, human activities such as “prescribed burns” or “controlled-burns” either directed or authorized by various levels of government, continue to cause far too many catastrophic wildfires.
Last week in Colorado, a burn “prescribed” by state officials killed at least two people, destroyed 27 homes, and devastated over 4,200 acres of forest.
On June 8, 2002, a female U.S. Forest Service worker started the infamous Hayman Fire in Colorado. She wanted to become a heroine by putting out the fire she started when it was small; however, it got out of hand, killing six people indirectly, destroying 133 homes, and costing over $40 million to fight. She was sentenced to 12 years in state prison and fined $14.6 million dollars.
Unfortunately, due to the smoke she created, the initial sentencing judge evacuated his home. Therefore, that judge should not have sat in judgment. Ironically, her felonious act of setting the fire and smoking out the initial judge provided the basis for her successful appeal. Her sentence was reduced to 15 years probation and 1,000 hours of community service. Go figure.
Although she was clearly a government employee, when damaged parties tried to sue the government for $7 million, another judge held she was not a government employee – merely a love-sick individual, burning old love letters and her fire got out-of-hand. Again, go figure.
Despite the lack of justice in the Hayman Fire case, if you are fire-damaged by government action or inaction, go to: http://www.prescribedburns.com for legal encouragement and direction.
How about government inaction? Clearly, the Obama administration does not want to impede the number of illegal aliens who might enter the USA and find a way to vote Democrat. But a 2011 report by the General Accounting Office reveals illegal border crossers, who leave camp fires unattended, cause 86 percent of the wildfires in Arizona’s border areas. Or, they set wildfires on purpose to focus the attention of the authorities on the wildfires rather than on their illegal activities.
On April 23, 2010, because of insufficient U.S. government action with regard to illegal border-crossers, Arizona enacted a law to step up its own border enforcement activities.
Now, 11 U.S. States that favor the Obama administration’s lack of border enforcement have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the border-enforcement actions of any state that wants to do what federal law says the U.S. government is supposed to do. Why? Because the 11 so-called “sanctuary” states argue that the border-enforcing states are causing more illegal aliens to drift over into the “sanctuary” states and, as a result, the costs in the 11 “sanctuary” states for health care, welfare, crime-fighting, and prisons have gone up. Folks, this would be a good time to re-read Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.
Some wildfire damage is invisible. At times, the intense heat melts the silica (sand) in the top soil forming a glass-like layer underneath the topsoil which is already fired-denuded of vegetation and is heat-sterilized. Thus, there is nothing on top of the ground to impede any down-rushing rain waters. The glass-like under-layer prevents the rain water from soaking in. The eventual soil-erosion and flood damage adds to the wildfire disaster.
So, if someone tells you wildfires are good, please think about giving more support to your local mental-health agency.
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