Letter: Homeless have put out hillside fires | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Homeless have put out hillside fires

Just a quick note to Shawn Turner (Letters 4/23), fires around here have been caused by lightning and a coal seam that has burned 100 years. One up your way was caused by a controlled burn in an irrigation ditch, forecasted winds fanned.

No fires were caused by the homeless camping up and down the valley. One did burn to death, in a shack filled with improperly stored flammable liquids but that was in town and not the drought-ravaged forest.

In fact, when I lived up the Scout Trail, I (being homeless) put out a fire, as luck has it right as the afternoon winds were picking up and sending cinders from an unattended fire the local high school graduation beer party left. They thought putting a six-foot log on it would smother it. The water at nearby camp put a lid on it. So the homeless actually saved this town of the east side fire it fears.

The only other fire up there on the east side of town was a lightning strike that, while the various authorities conferred as to in whose jurisdiction it was in, a neighbor (I was considered a neighbor though homeless) and his son who lived at the bottom of the hill went up and put it out; leaving the authorities to babysit it for the night.

So, seeing accidents tend to happen to everyone — including forlorn forest rangers — it is paramount we don’t go about blaming one possibility as more dangerous than another, especially if it is simply voiced to serve another agenda.

We need to work together. This requires responsibility for executing communication skills much higher than fixing blame to a pet “what if.”

We all fall short in the face of “what if.”

Eric Olander

Glenwood Springs

(Editor’s note: A fire on the hillside east of the Roaring Fork Marketplace last fall was determined to have originated within a known homeless camp in that area.)