Wildland Firefighters Could Use The Help


I must comment on the uproar over the proposed "interface fire regulations" that Gila County is considering. As a retired firefighter of 30 years who was involved in many wildland/urban interface firestorms in California, I can attest to their destructiveness.

The Dude fire experience here should not go unheeded. There is little doubt that there will be another similar occurrence. It is simply a matter of time. If firefighters are to have a "fighting chance" in these horrific situations, experience has shown that they have a more reasonable expectation of success if there has been adequate pre-fire planning and preparation.

Part of that preparation frequently requires vegetation modification around homes and structures to provide for a "defensible space" between existing fuel (vegetation) and a structure. Without this space, firefighters and others are at considerable handicap to effect a successful defense of lives and homes.

Those who are unwilling to make the necessary environmental modifications to the property adjacent to their homes should not then expect firefighters to be as efficient and successful as they might otherwise be. Do not blame the firefighters for your loss if you were not willing to give them a "fighting chance."

I moved into this environment myself, with full knowledge and experience of the risks involved. It was my choice and I do not expect a "miracle" should the worst happen. I am willing to assist in whatever fashion I can, ahead of the curve, to aid the firefighters should that occur, but I know the challenges they face and accept the limitations of their capabilities due to the environment in which we choose to live.

They are great at what they do, but even they need a little help at times, particularly in places such as the beautiful and potentially dangerous area surrounding most of us in the forest. Most of what is being proposed is little to sacrifice if it can save lives and homes. If you think otherwise, simply ask those that have already confronted your worst fears.

Ron Hamric

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