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Controlled Burn Should Be Part of Prevention

November 06, 1994

Your editorial "Fighting Fire With Fire" is laudable. However, the reason behind the Topanga residents' reluctance toward controlled burning was not the risk but the perceived negative aesthetics of the burn.

The overwhelming majority of residents of Topanga Canyon were in favor of the prescribed burn, but a single resident did not want any black ash next to his property. Individual hillside residents have little control over their own destiny regarding catastrophic wildfire survival.

The area under consideration had been identified in 1985 as having potential for catastrophic wildfire. The residents of Topanga were notified of this potential. The November, 1993, fires validated it.

The addition of the Super Scooper aircraft will continue the policy of putting out all of the easy fires and allow the continuation of a massive fuel build-up.

A combination of fire management techniques, including prescribed burning, environmentally selective brush clearing, homeowner education and involvement can mitigate this threat.

I was the Vegetation Management officer for L. A. County Fire, having retired in 1991.

SCOTT E. FRANKLIN

Santa Clarita

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