Letter: We can’t afford Berlaimont | VailDaily.com

Letter: We can’t afford Berlaimont

Berlaimont Estates will put fire and EMS personnel knowingly and directly in harm’s way. I am opposed to Berlaimont for many reasons. However, my top reason is that my wife is a firefighter and I have many friends who work for both the ambulance district and for Eagle River Fire Protection District.

This proposed development is located just east of the Wolcott Basin (think 4 Eagle Ranch) where in the last few years we’ve had several wildfires. One fire almost made it up and over the ridge line — within only a few miles of the proposed development.

Based on what we’ve seen in California, the current mega-drought conditions here in Western Colorado, and the unexpected speed that fires can move, it would be unconscionable to knowingly place these firefighters in harm’s way.

Take note that the proposed development will have only one way in and out. That’s it. The reality of a fast-burning fire that could trap these firefighters in an area with little cover and no exit is very real. We need look no further than Grand Lake in 2020 for confirmation. With climate change exacerbating fuel conditions, the situation is frightening.

While the proponents suggest they have a shelter in place plan, first responders will still respond. It is what they do. These destructive wildfires are so hot now that we need to ask if sheltering in place is viable? Do residents want to be a test case?

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Berlaimont Estates will put multi-million-dollar houses and residents in harm’s way. It will put lives of our first responders at risk. The costs will be borne by our community and the public, but there are no public benefits. We can’t afford Berlaimont. The Forest Service’s bankrupt fire budget can’t either.

The Forest Service should deny Berlaimont on fire reasons alone.

Karl Höchtl III


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