Rim Fire and Flame Retardant

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Posted by Annie in Twain Harte News on August 26, 2013

I don’t know about you, but fire terrifies me.  This has been one of my worst nightmares.  The Rim Fire is a case of all sorts of things going wrong all at once.  The humidity was terribly low, with low precipitation for the entire year and to be frank, a horrible job of managing our forests.

Fire retardant drop

Fire retardant drop (Photo credit: Coconino National Forest)

I’m sitting here at home in downtown Twain Harte and I’m worried about my chickens and my neighbors chickens, our pets, the deer and the butterflies.  Don’t get me wrong – I want the firefighters to put out the fire as it grows closer and closer to threatening loved ones, but at what cost?  They are dumping thousands of pounds of this bright red flame retardant out in front of the fire.  It’s purpose is to slow down the fire, so that the firemen can get a handle on it.

After a fire, when all the ground cover has been burned, the forest comes alive again and renews itself. All it takes is time.  It is truly amazing.  However, by using this fire retardant on the fire we don’t know what the long-term effects will be.  Will it get in the groundwater?  Almost certainly.  What are the chemicals in this stuff?  Will it cause cancer?  We simply don’t know.

Will this finish off the bees?  I would never in a million years have described myself as an environmentalist.  But there have been so many things done to us over the years without our knowledge, without any form of public discussion or acknowledgement and I think we had better have some talks before we destroy the earth entirely.

Ask questions. Get involved.  Know the answers.  Tell a friend.

Yes, I pray they stop the fire but if my house burns down, I will find another.  We can’t buy another earth for any amount of money.  Let’s be smart about things.  I love Twain Harte, it’s my home.  I don’t want to see it change, either because of a fire or because of fire retardant.

And what’s more is this fire retardant is designed to cling onto vegetation for years and will work to stop flames until washed away.

The retardant is also made up of a fertilizer to help vegetation grow again after a wildfire.

What could they do differently? First and foremost, those tending our forests need to actively pursue controlled burns. The native Americans knew all about how important it was to manage the risk of a forest fire with controlled burns to prevent nature from doing it herself.

Nature won’t be stingy about where to draw the line. What gets me is that we have these rules about “defensible space” around our homes up here, but that does us no good when a fire can spread over a hundred thousand acres in less than a week. At the very most, the 100′ barrier around my home will slow the fire by an hour – it surely won’t prevent a blaze like this from taking my home or my possessions. It’s far better to preventively reduce combustive material with controlled burns on a regular basis.

But is it safe?

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