Leaders Fail To Show Any Common Sense

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Editor:

Re: "Arizona braces for tough fire season," Arizona Republic, Sunday, March 16, 2003.

Far from it, at least in Payson.

All that the Town Fathers are talking about up there is water (who needs it after the town burns?) and who gets to hire/fire town department heads (who needs them after the town burns?).

It is a truly amazing failure to demonstrate even the rudiments of not only common sense and also of both official and personal responsibility.

If a disastrous fire occurs in or around Payson, these officials should be prosecuted for misfeasance in office.

There is a great deal that the town can do which does not entail the outlay of vast sums of public money which simply are unavailable today.

Among these are:

  • Require cleanup of ground litter around combustible structures, fuel tanks, etc.
  • Require removal of trees and shrubs adjacent to buildings (automatically override the many subdivision CC&Rs contrary to this).
  • Require all structures changing hands to be upgraded for fire-resistance.
  • Require all new structures to incorporate fire-resistant construction (where are the insurance companies on this?). For example, no more "log" houses, no more wooden or composition siding and trim, no more cedar-shake or asphalt shingle roofs, no more wooden balconies.
  • Require that all applications for building permits for construction in the forest contain certified engineering plans showing how the forest can burn without taking the building with it. Otherwise, a substantial impact fee should be levied to pay for incremental additions to the town fire-fighting resources (no guarantees).

Allen N. Wollscheidt, Chandler (Property owner in Payson)

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