Commonsense kicks in |

Commonsense kicks in

Don Rogers

It’s about time.

We escaped the worst of a just passed fire season that included the 139,000-acre Hayman Fire, the state’s largest on record, and a couple of biggish blazes in the Roaring Fork Valley area that nudged our boundaries and sent up ugly smoke plumes in our skies.

But this is fire country, and our subdivided incursions into the wildlands leave the developments vulnerable.

Thus far, following the great 1990s’ surge, when Eagle was the 10th-fastest-growing county in the entire country, we’ve been lucky. Maybe even very lucky.

We understand that some developer types have been busy trying to persuade the county commissioners to forget the whole wildfire safety thing. You know, election’s over, no one is paying attention anyway with all this early snow, all this stuff will cost money.

Ah, money. Wood shingle makers for years convinced California lawmakers that their tindery product was fine, just fine, despite all compelling evidence in the form of homes with wood shake roofs burning down next to homes escaping whole with sensible materials up top.

The issue in this case is more important than monetary concerns. We’re talking lives, here, ultimately. The residents of homes in the “red zone,” sure, but more likely the safety of the emergency service people we ask to save us from ourselves.

So we applaud the commissioners for holding firm, sticking with this effort, and scheduling that vote for this month.

This is just a commonsense measure for places like Bellyache Ridge, the Eby Creek area, part of Eagle-Vail and other housing plopped in front of wildland offering lots of what firefighters rather laconically refer to as “fuel.”

We’d love to see the new regulations made retroactive, for the firefighters’ sake, mainly, but that might be unreasonable for now.

Maybe that inevitable ripper up the western-facing flank of Bellyache will force the issue someday, but we’ll call this a good start.

This is fire country, after all. And it is about time we recognized the fact.


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