Burned Forest Should Be Opened To Loggers, Woodcutters

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Editor:

It has been a long few weeks as we watched the fires burning thousands of acres just a little east of us destroying not only much timber, but causing misery and uprooting of thousands of persons living in the area. The person who, according to news reports, has confessed to setting the Rodeo Fire has been arrested and is now awaiting further court proceedings, but it seems that the person who has also, according to new reports, set the Chediski Fire in an attempt to signal a helicopter because she was lost is still walking free and it may turn out that she is not to be arrested at all. I guess I have some problems with this double standard, both parties set fires, both parties have admitted it, yet while one is in jail the other one is still walking free.

I believe that the forest was closed when this lady went wandering in it, so first of all what was she doing where she didn't belong? Secondly, any person with just a pinch of common sense would know better than to light a fire considering just how dry we are. Of course I realize that you can't be arrested, in many cases, for just being plain stupid. However, I do believe what is good for one is good for the other, unless of course as in other incidents in Arizona, the lady is well connected to some of the "good old boys."

I also hope that logging companies will be allowed in once it is safe in the national forest, to log what timber can be saved and once an area of logging is completed, the area should be opened to firewood cutting by any resident with a permit. Without this clean-up effort by commercial logging firms and local residents, the area will once again return to an area of downed snags, standing snags just waiting for a lightning strike, rotting and wasted timber laying on the forest floor.

Since the sawmill on the Apache Reservation is about the only livelihood for the tribe, perhaps they should be given some sort of priority when the area is opened for logging, but they should not have total rights to log all of the burn area.

I would hope that this could be achieved without the interference of stupid and unreal lawsuits slowing or even canceling the clean-up until there is nothing to clean up as it is all rotten and full of beetles.

P.L. Phillips, Payson

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