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September 01, 2009

Re "2 firefighters die, 18 homes burn," Aug. 31

Over the weekend, I was part of a group in a long line at a burger stand in Pasadena. Repeatedly our eyes turned to the San Gabriels and the smoke towering above them.

In the intimacy that comes with waiting in a line, we strangers talked about what it must be like "up there," struggling in all the heat, wrestling with heavy equipment, scrambling up steep slopes, breathing the smoke.

We agreed that for us -- our only immediate concern the length of the line we waited in -- it was impossible to imagine.

To all those who know firsthand what it is like to fight these fires, and to their families, thank you.

Doug Borsom



Where are the "tea baggers" now that we need them?

The bumbling government, once again, is launching another bound-to-fail program with the massing of firefighters to battle the Station fire.

Why save someone else's house from destruction; it's not mine? The fire departments are just more of the socialist governmental programs designed to take away what little freedom we have left. Why can't we just burn in peace?

Ben White



One of the most heavily used national forests in the nation -- Angeles National -- is ablaze, and hikers, motorcyclists, fishermen and hunters can only look on sorrowfully.

We read about the exploits of a puny air fleet of helicopters and tankers fighting a fire that consumes thousands of acres in a day. Favorite canyons, dells and cherished respites are cinders. How is it in the nation's most-populous county, after decades of forest fires as lessons, we can only assemble such a fleet? Surely there are scores of Southland private pilots willing to help fight fires.

We cannot become so ossified that to help ourselves is forbidden. In a time of tight budgets, some volunteerism would benefit the soul.

Benjamin Mark Cole

Los Angeles


We cannot escape the smell in downtown, North Hollywood or even Manhattan Beach, and this fire problem is happening more often as the summers get warmer.

Los Angeles -- and the state of California -- must put fires and those who fight them at the forefront of today's budget, and truly consider the global warming question. These fires affect everyone, not just the nearby homeowners.

JonPaul Tilleman

Los Angeles


Once again, our hearts are overflowing with thanks and praise for the firefighters, law enforcement, Red Cross and other emergency services that come to our aid during these crises.

"Our health" and "our lives" are the most important things to protect. Why then do we refuse a concept like universal healthcare?

This week, we haven't questioned the value and necessity of spending millions in tax dollars to save our homes and other structures from fire.

We don't shout "socialism" when government (firefighters) comes to our aid to save our property -- and we don't question the ability of these "government run" services because they are efficient and highly skilled. No one would think of allowing these emergency services to be "for profit."

As the flames kiss your back door, would a firefighter refuse service, claiming you have a preexisting condition (drought)? Never.

Helping a family faced with thousands of dollars in medical bills needed to save their child battling cancer is just as important as helping (perhaps that same family) battle a wildfire about to take their home -- isn't it?

Pamela Woncik

La Canada

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