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Santa Rosa

Unreasonable deadline

EDITOR: The Board of Supervisors is showing no understanding or compassion for the victims of the deadly wildfires. Setting a deadline only five weeks after the fire to file a plan to clean up the debris is ridiculous.

Those of us whose homes burned to the ground were lucky to escape with their lives and not much else. After the initial shock, we were faced with the tasks of finding immediate and long-term shelter for our families, getting some clothing, recovering critical documents, securing transportation, dealing with FEMA and filing claims with our insurance companies — and these are but some of things that needed to be done.

Cleaning the debris of our former homes was the last thing on our minds. And doing all this took time, lots of time, as lines at the local assistance center were several hours long. The same is true wherever you went. Traffic was at a standstill too. Oh, then there were other obligations for most: job, school, children, relatives, pets, commitments.

It’s easy for our local politicians to get on their soapboxes and proclaim “Sonoma strong” without the vaguest idea of what that means to the fire victims. Deadlines need to be more realistic. Fire victims need more time, notice and support to make the right decisions.

JERRY GLADSTONE

Santa Rosa

Get ready for next time

EDITOR: Now in the aftermath, among all the second-guessing about fault and warning systems and how to rebuild, my thoughts turn toward the future — the next one — and fire prevention.

I’m recently retired after 30 years as a firefighter and captain. We were always taught that proactive fire prevention saves far more lives and property than all the valiant suppression efforts after fires start.

I’m curious what the comparison would be in dollars lost and dollars spent between the catastrophic losses and what it would have cost to perform clearing of underbrush and establish barriers to fire spread in open wooded areas.

Targeted tactical annual controlled burns, done during the wet season, to create critical firebreaks are crucial. Now is the time to think ahead, or history will repeat.

DAN COLVIG

Sonoma

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