Why ditch clearing matters
My name is Charles Moore and I live in a farmhouse immediately west of the Carbondale Community School. Last week while ditch burning, an overhanging juniper tree ignited and was consumed by fire within seconds. In my conversation with the fire department earlier that morning, I was told to have water (a hose) available and to call if I needed assistance. We put the fire out and 911 calls brought the Carbondale police, Garfield County Sheriff and the fire department, which quickly had the situation under control.
Meanwhile, a parent dropping off children was so upset by what she saw that she began yelling at the firemen. She called a newspaper and a reporter was sent to record her distress. The resulting article was so filled with misinformation that I called the reporter and requested a follow-up article (“Fire near school upsets parent,” Glenwood Post Independent, May 7). “No need for that,” was the reply. Herewith my follow-up: Prior to the igniting of the juniper, we had burned ditches on neighboring property with considerable ditch still to burn.
I wonder if the upset parent is aware of the whole ditch burning need and rationale. She was quoted as saying, “You don’t need to burn this stuff, this is something that could have been done with a lawn mower and some garden gloves. In a residential area like this … we need to use a little common sense …” Calling this a residential area is a bit of a stretch with industry and open fields surrounding.
While the fire chief sympathizes with the upset parent, I sympathize with the firemen who have to put up with all the whackos while fighting fires at the same time. There was no mention in the newspaper that I called the fire department that morning and was given permission to burn ditches, and now because of the actions of the upset parent, I am prohibited from burning ditches.
I, therefore, request said parent stop by with her gardening gloves and clear about 1,000 feet of ditch. Perhaps her “common sense” can come up with a better way to clean the ditches. My common sense tells me that if the ditches can’t deliver water to the trees and other growth (i.e. along the Rio Grande Trail) by August we’ll have potential fires that will make my burning juniper look like a weenie roast.
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