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As a long time hiker and outdoor enthusiast, I am beyond heartbroken at the Museum Fire catastrophe. What a cruel joke has been perpetrated on the citizens of Flagstaff, who voluntarily voted to tax themselves to reduce the consequences of this exact scenario.

I have been into the Dry Lake Hills many times over the last few weeks to see just what has been accomplished by the FWPP, and I observed that in areas where treatment was done there were far fewer trees, but the amount of slash and logging debris left behind was astounding in its abundance, and no doubt it played a role in how quickly and how hot the fire burned. I also wondered why there were so many steep slopes seemingly untouched by helicopter logging, and why some slopes were cut where others were not.

I know the absence of the monsoon contributed greatly to the potential for a major fire, but I think the Forest Service needs to answer some difficult questions about how the FWPP may have contributed to the severity and spread of the blaze.

ERIC SMITH

Flagstaff

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