Arizona tragedy: The dangers of building near wilderness

  • Article by: FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WASHINGTON POST
  • Updated: July 3, 2013 - 6:40 PM

As is often the case, a few will bear the burden, sometimes tragically.

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pumiceJul. 3, 13 7:04 PM

From the article: "Instead of encouraging ever-increasing development in increasingly risky places, states, localities and the federal government have to think ahead." Is it that states, localities and the federal government encourage development in increasingly risky places? or is it that rugged individualists demand unfettered property rights and reject any government's right to tell them where they can and can't build?

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pumiceJul. 3, 13 7:58 PM

Regarding "The dangers of building near wilderness": A lot of Americans are like Greta Garbo--they just want to be alone. Which means they build homes in a lot of places they shouldn't. Besides remote wilderness which is vulnerable to wildfire, they build in places like low-lying coastal areas or places near shaky tectonic plates or places in the Ring of Fire, or places where homes slide into the ocean. Cities aren't always safe either, of course--one has to avoid floodplains (which lets out the basins of the Ohio, the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Columbia, et cetera) low-lying coastal areas with a history of hurricanes making landfall and high-crime areas....

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tituspulloJul. 3, 13 8:34 PM

Build at your own risk. I have a buddy who had a really nice place in the hills in southern California. It burned to the ground along with many others when wild fores struck a few years back. He picked himself up and rebuilt. The beauty and rugged terrain were worth the risk. After staying there a few times, I can't blame him

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pitythetoolsJul. 4, 13 7:30 AM

The first settlers in this country built near wilderness. As people moved from the east to the west they moved near wilderness. What you expect they build next to?

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owatonnabillJul. 4, 13 4:00 PM

Living near wilderness has it's risks. Nevertheless the risks are all too often exacerbated, rather than alleviated, by idiotic government rules. Witness the BWCA. Growing up in the middle of the Superior National Forest, owatonnabill had access to what we called "fire roads" -- access roads into areas often tens if not hundreds of square miles in area that would have been inaccessible otherwise. Besides making for good grouse hunting, these roads provided access for the people and machinery to get to a fire quickly, and extinguish it with minimal damage, rather than have to slog in on foot with only what the firefighters could carry on their backs. Though there were at one time, there are no such roads in the BWCA today and recent history bears out the idiocy of such a policy. Owatonnabill can recall at least three major fires up there in the past 15 or so years that could have been greatly minimized had the firefighters been able to attack the fires with proper equipment. These Arizona firefighters made the supreme sacrifice, giving their lives to protect the lives and property of others, and owatonnabill's respect for that is boundless. Nevertheless, one is forced to ask: did the environmental regulations in force in that area of Arizona inhibit rather than enable their efforts? And if so, would more sensible regulations have prevented these tragic deaths? It is a hard question but is one that nevertheless must be looked at--and answered--honestly.

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