Tom and Marilyn Eckels: A homeowner’s responsibility |

Tom and Marilyn Eckels: A homeowner’s responsibility

Tom and Marilyn Eckels

The only printable reaction we can muster to Catherine Cockburn’s letter of August 5 is, “You’ve GOT to be kidding!”

Of course those of us who live in Summit County love our trees. Of course we want to protect and save our beautiful town. But Ms. Cockburn’s attitude toward firefighters and the job they do is absolutely astounding. As parents of a Colorado firefighter already injured once defending a home in a forest fire, we take extreme exception to her comments (“Yes, it might help the firefighters … not to have trees providing fuel, but that’s what firefighters are paid to do: fight fires.”) Seriously?!

When a wildfire strikes in Summit County, and it almost certainly will in time, a catastrophic, out-of-anyone’s-control situation is a very real possibility. Such fires have lives all their own: They create their own extreme weather conditions, they change direction randomly and without warning, and they incinerate everything in their paths. Fire professionals mount heroic battles, but there is a limit to what they can control in true wildfire situations. We citizens, therefore, have a responsibility to do all we possibly can to mitigate the threat of fire to our homes, and that includes providing a defensible space around those homes.

We wonder if Ms. Cockburn has looked out her window at the millions of matchstick trees just one spark away from a conflagration. And we wonder how she will feel when people here lose their homes to a forest fire or when someone, be it a firefighter or an ordinary citizen, is harmed because of attitudes like hers.

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