Letters and comments for November 7, 2011

By Observer Upload November 08, 2011 01:28 am
Letters and comments for November 7, 2011

Learn fire lessons

To the Editor:

Recently, I read an article in the La Grande Observer, “Cove’s Susceptibility to Wildfire,” that discussed the Cove II WUI Project. I am glad the Forest Service is employing the lessons from the Wallow Fire in Arizona earlier this year and is planning to proactively treat dangerous areas around Cove.

It is essential to protect firefighters and the community of Cove by reducing fuel loads and providing a safe area for firefighters to engage a wildfire should one erupt in the adjacent forest/wilderness.

In the aftermath of Arizona’s Wallow Fire, Forest Service officials performed a “fuel treatment effectiveness assessment” and found their proactive efforts to protect thousands of homes near the Apache Forest paid off.

Without the fuel reduction treatments, we would have lost more than just 32 homes to this incredibly hot and fast fire that threatened more than 2,700 homes with 100-foot flames. However, Forest Service officials admitted that a backcountry project (scheduled for this fall) to reduce fuels could have changed the dynamic of the fire and prevented much of the damage.

We must take the opportunity to learn and apply the lessons from Arizona’s Wallow Fire. The crucial first step is to ensure full implementation of the Cove II WUI Project, on which the Forest Service received objections from two environmental organizations, Hells Canyon Preservation Council and Oregon Wild.

This project, developed by a 15-member scientific team, strikes a balance in maintaining old growth while also providing fire breaks, safe areas for firefighters and protection for the community of Cove.

In the event of a wildfire, the proposed project would prove to be invaluable, much like the projects from Arizona’s Wallow Fire that were tested and shown to work.

Lindsay Warness

forest policy analyst

Boise Cascade, LLC

La Grande

Veteran’s tribute

To the Editor:

My husband, Bob, and I, with my sister and niece, were recently having lunch at a local restaurant. When we were ready to leave, the waitress told us that an Iraq veteran had paid our bill because my husband is a WWII veteran (my husband had a cap on with those emblems because he is proud to have served back in those years).

Because he had already left, we didn’t know how to thank that veteran for his tribute to my husband, but it brought tears to both of us and we hope someone will be kind to him and all veterans sometime.

Joan Fredrickson

La Grande