Border Fire Bureaucracy

Border Fire highlights federal firefighting failure


The federal government, alas, continued to disappoint, with resources held back until after the fires had grown out of control. Now, despite years of complaints from local elected officials, we’re seeing a fresh example of federal fecklessness in firefighting. As county Supervisor Dianne Jacob detailed Tuesday on her Facebook page, the U.S. Forest Service’s effectiveness in responding to the Border Fire has been sharply reduced because federal officials refuse on safety grounds to use the Ramona airport to reload fire retardant to drop on the blaze, instead flying more than 90 miles north to San Bernardino.

As Jacob noted, the state agency CAL FIRE flies similar aircraft, which have had no problems using the Ramona airport. “We need the USFS to demonstrate that public safety is a higher priority than bureaucratic stubbornness,” she wrote. If the USFS can’t figure this out on its own, perhaps the White House can. We deserve better from Washington when lives and property could be at stake.

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