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We were shocked to read the self-righteous, condescending “ViewPoint” column written by Kathleene Parker in Sunday’s paper entitled “Understanding Fire Dynamics.”
While Ms. Parker clearly has knowledge of the fire history of New Mexico, her writing suggests that this knowledge is purely academic, which is where the problems with her piece arise.
She got off to a bad start by questioning when mountain homeowners will “get it.” As mountain homeowners, we find that remark incredibly offensive. We all “got it.” We had cleared and thinned for years, and had large defensible spaces around our homes. Our neighbors did too.
The residents of Cochiti Mesa, Crager Ridge, Hadden Ridge and the La Cueva Volunteer Fire Department did intensive mitigation work, spending days and weeks of their own time to clear and cut, year after year. The National Forest land was not ours to thin and thus was beyond our control.
The Forest Service did some thinning around the eastern, southern, and southwestern perimeter of Cochiti Mesa but not areas north and west where our homes were. The thinning did not slow down the fire, although extensive thinning by homeowners in flat areas on top of Cochiti Mesa may have helped change the wind patterns of the fire somewhat.
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