To Pete Aleshire (Roundup reporter):
I would like to thank you for your coverage of the Point Fire. You folks in the media have a huge influence on public perception and I appreciate your reporting of this as a positive event instead of, as you wrote, panic in the street, etc. I worked the Point Fire as a line medic and am also the fuels management officer at the Pine Strawberry Fire Department. My wife and I were just talking the other day about summer of 2002 when we were on a family vacation in Las Vegas and, at the end of our stay, had misplaced our valet ticket to get our car out of hock. Management said, “How can you prove that you own this car?” We replied “We live in Pine, so every fire season, we all either pile our important papers and possessions next to our front door or else we take them all with us.” We were able to produce all the necessary documentation from inside the vehicle itself to prove that we actually owned it. I still remember when we moved here in 1985. Every fire season, all the news channels from the Valley would trot up their reporters and their news anchors to do stories about the poor people of Pine and Strawberry and to talk about what specifically we each had piled by the door and how we planned to escape the next big fire.
We in Pine Strawberry, as well as the entire Rim Country, have made the commitment to stand up and fight instead of simply preparing for disaster. I’m proud of all that we have accomplished as a community, and I sincerely appreciate your contribution to this effort with your educated reporting. Thank you.
Capt. Mike Brandt, fuels management officer,
Pine Strawberry Fire Department