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California's fire danger

November 18, 2008

Re "Driven by wind, catastrophe sweeps across three counties," Nov. 16

At the start of the fire season, with the budget still not passed, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commented that no matter how dire the financial situation, we always find the money to fight the fires.

Maybe we need to start finding some of that money in a fire-prone-area surcharge on the property taxes of those who choose to live in such dangerous areas.

Roberta Quiroz

Los Angeles


Some years back in a meeting with San Diego city officials, including the fire chief, I suggested that Neighborhood Watch, an anti-crime citizens' organization, be expanded to include Fire Watch. Everyone agreed that it was a worthy idea, but there it ended. Every time terrible fires break out across Southern California, I am reminded of that meeting and saddened nothing came of it.

The idea was quite simple: Citizens would be encouraged to join Fire Watch or its equivalent.

Every time a Santa Ana condition loomed -- high temperatures, strong winds, low humidity -- members would begin patrolling the perimeters of canyons and foothills with binoculars and cellphones in hand.

The purpose? To watch for those who wait for Santa Ana conditions to start fires. If the knowledge of a citizens' patrol on duty during fire season deterred even one pyromaniac, wouldn't it be worth the effort to create such an organization?

George Mitrovich

San Diego


I am a Bible-believing Christian, and I am here to tell you that the wildfires are a judgment on the bigots of California who passed Proposition 8 in order to deny a minority of Californians their human rights.

Lawrence L. Graham

Dunwoody, Ga.


Thank you so much for the excellent coverage of the Tea Fire in Montecito, and congratulations to all of the outstanding writers who contributed to it. We are fortunate to have such a great newspaper in our area on which we can rely for the highest level of journalism. Please keep up your fine work.

Benjamin Hitz Jr.

Santa Barbara

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