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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Development a Risk in San Bernardino Forest

June 06, 2003

Re "Fire Season Arrives, but Not Funds to Clear Out Dead Trees," May 29: The coverage of the dead-tree crisis in the San Bernardino Mountains has been a valuable public service. The San Bernardino National Forest belongs to all of us and is truly one of the most outstanding treasures of Southern California.

What I don't understand is why the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors does not put an immediate halt to all new development projects in the mountains while such a critical emergency is in effect. Too many people live in the mountains and cannot be safely evacuated in the event of a major fire, and too many structures exist to adequately defend in so hazardous an area. With its forest the most fire-prone in the country, you would think that the Board of Supervisors would adopt every means possible to ensure maximum public safety.

Curtailing development would signal that responsible action is being taken and validate the special appeal to President Bush for extra emergency help. The last thing we need is to make a deadly situation worse by adding more fuel to the problem.

William Blanchard

Running Springs

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