Baby-sitting Vallecito Fire is taking a chance

I have lived in the Durango area for more than 30 years and remember the infamous Missionary Ridge Fire – a fire so hot and furious that it almost completely wiped out a huge chunk of our forest that surrounds us.

Sometimes we forget and take for granted the frailty of our forest and wilderness ecosystem, so how can anyone be sure that the vegetation of Vallecito could survive another fire so close to the time of Missionary’s blaze?

Hence, the decision to allow a fire to burn or reburn the same place as in 2002 is not only a bad idea, it is ludicrous, expensive, unbelievably ruinous and unspeakably upsetting. However, we’ve been extremely lucky or blessed that this year’s Vallecito Fire has not gotten out of hand. Tempting fate like this is in no way at all OK.

How can anyone think it acceptable to force the residents of the Forest Lakes/Vallecito areas to live with an unease and questions concerning the safety for themselves, family and properties? Like I said before, we’ve been lucky. God forbid the winds pick up or shift, fanning the fire into a rage.

What about wildlife? How can you think that because the immediate danger to people’s homes has been diverted (at least for now), it is OK to allow the home of our precious wildlife to be destroyed? Officials kill the predators that meander into town yet allow the destruction of our wildlife’s natural habitat whether at the hands of Mother Nature or civilization.

This year, too, the extreme dryness resembles too closely for comfort 2002. Wouldn’t it be less costly to the residents of this county if the fire had been doused immediately and completely rather than baby-sit it?

Andie Sheffield


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