California's crazy and proud of it

Roger HedgecockWND

CAL FIRE is the California state agency tasked with fighting the state's increasingly devastating wildfires.

Only in California would a cause of these fires – illegal marijuana plantations in the public forest lands – be ignored. Only in California would there be a mandated politically correct way to fight these fires. Only in California would there be more concern with union rules when fighting a fire than with putting the fire out.

In recent years, dozens of major wildfires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres of wild habitat, destroyed thousands of homes in rural and suburban areas and killed dozens of Californians. California's 37 million people have pushed development into fire-prone areas, and environmental laws have prevented those private landowners from clearing the land around their homes to protect them from fire.

Add to the list of causes of these wildfires the recent proliferation of marijuana plantations run by Mexican drug gangs in state and federal forest lands near metropolitan areas. Armed illegals working these plantations live illegally in the open in makeshift shelters with primitive sanitation. They illegally cook and heat with open fires in dry, windy conditions. It's a recipe for disaster.

Because illegals are protected in California, law enforcement looks the other way. Only citizens would be prosecuted for the multiple law violations I just described.

Now the California Air Resources Board has published proposed rules, developed jointly with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, requiring that CAL FIRE get the approval of "local air quality managers" as to methods used to fight these wild fires.

The new rules would require CAL FIRE to develop "smoke management plans" for any fire bigger than 10 acres, have daily discussions with local air quality managers before fighting the fire that day to ensure that the smoke-management plans are being followed and choose fire-fighting tactics that limit smoke from the fire.

In other words when dropping fire retardant on the fire produces more smoke than letting the fire burn, the fire will be allowed to burn. Officials admit that the intent of the rules is to let fires run their course in the name of respiratory health, regardless of the threat the fire itself poses to humans, livestock and homes. In California, not fighting a fire will be the new definition of fire fighting.

In San Diego County, the Cedar fire started on a Saturday night (Oct. 25, 2003) and by Sunday had raced 30 miles from the Cleveland National Forest into San Diego's suburbs. The fire destroyed 2,232 homes, killed 15 people and took nine days to contain.

In 2007, the Witch Creek fire killed seven, destroyed 1,500 homes and forced the evacuation of 500,000 residents.

In these major disasters, California union rules and agency turf disputes didn't help.

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