Responsibility lies with each of us to stay safe
June 27, 2007
Gazing across Lake Tahoe, the ravages of the Angora fire are shrouded in smoke, but one thing is perfectly clear.
All of us must be prepared for wildfires.
In less than 24 hours from its beginning on Sunday afternoon, the Angora fire consumed 225 homes and buildings in a wind-whipped conflagration that moved with ferocious quickness. It left personal heartbreak, environmental devastation, and, a lot of finger-pointing already.
Who is at fault for the fire?
It is believed to be human-caused, but the blame is stretching beyond that.
Did the U.S. Forest Service not manage the forest well and clean up the lots?
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Are policies by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at fault?
Are some pro-environment groups, like League to Save Lake Tahoe, at fault for advocating forest protection at the expense of proper management of hazardous fuels?
Is the federal government at fault for not providing enough funds for the Forest Service to clear more hazardous fuels?
The questions go on and on, and emotional South Tahoe residents pointed fingers – especially at the TRPA – during a community meeting there on Monday.
But finding fault may not be that simple.
Wildfires occur and nature’s forces often cannot be contained, no matter how prepared you are. All we can do as we make our homes in the urban-wildland interface is to make sure we each do our part.
Each homeowner needs to make sure defensible space is properly maintained.
And be prepared.
The Autumn Hills, Martis, Waterfall and Linehan fires, among others, have taught us we are not immune.
Let’s be thankful no lives have been lost and do our best to prevent a similar situation here.