As a former forest fire fighter who knows the feel of smoke and flame in his face, I continue to be appalled at the ongoing waste of money and lives that masquerades as fire control. With the exception of small recently started fires, the concept of containing a fire by digging a line around it is a morbid joke. When the winds can blow embers across the Columbia River to ignite new fires, what good is even a bulldozer dug fire line? Too many lives are wasted in these efforts. The only effective way to stop a wild fire is by “back-burning” to eliminate fuel in its path.
As the Chelan County Fire Commissioner and national fire experts have repeatedly noted, the only way out of our wildfire dilemma is to put large up-front investments into fuel abatement. Using federal, state and local funds, this brush-clearing work would not only save money in the long run but would create dependable employment for our underemployed youth.