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Letter to the Editor: Doney Park resident wants to see forests managed better

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Letters

Yep. Here we go again. Two fires in 2 months, and one before “fire season.”

I am heartbroken that our small community north of Flagstaff received another direct hit.

Yes, wildfires are a natural disaster, but unlike tornadoes and hurricanes, we can actually prevent most of them. Our forests are dry and thirsty, the doors are left wide open all summer long without restriction. Few signs are posted explaining the rules, and most visitors speed so fast down the forest service roads to ever notice the “no camping, no campfire” signs anyway. Our national forests have become a playground for the irresponsible and a home for the homeless.

Maybe we should ask ourselves if the U.S. Forest Service is really capable of caring for such a big forest so close to a growing town. We do not hear about fires in parks managed by the National Park Service, much less by private companies.

Besides, I fear that there's no strategy in place. The Tunnel Fire cost taxpayers $5 million, and that doesn’t include the millions in private property, and priceless memories lost. The Pipeline Fire is already bigger and will likely cost even more. Just these two fires — not including the Hayward Fire currently burning — will likely far exceed the Coconino National Forest yearly budget. As a community, we should question if our tax dollars could be better spent on prevention.

Sadly, as soon as the forest opens in August (or before), we'll have a third fire, God only knows how big and destructive. We deserve better and need to hold the government’s feet to the fire to better manage the forest that we all enjoy responsibly, before the next one hits closer to home.

EMERSON REIS

Doney Park

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