Letters to the Editor (7/12/17)

When is enough, enough?

How much longer must the citizens of the Kern River Valley be forced to live under poor air quality conditions? The Sequoia National Forest has been responsible for unhealthy air quality in our valley for far too long. The Erskine and Cedar Fires of last year were bad enough for everyone’s health, but at least the agencies involved were trying to suppress those fires. Since that time we have been subjected to unhealthy air quality almost continuously during the fire season due to the ‘let burn’ policies or ‘confine and contain’ strategy of the Sequoia National Forest. The Slate, Jacobson, Meadow, and Hidden Fires of 2016 were all allowed to burn (over 11,000 acres) to create a ‘healthy forest,’ never mind the human population. And many times these fires were not only ‘allowed’ to burn, they were encouraged to grow by the lighting of backfires far in advance of the main fire. If there was ever a time not to encourage smoke production in our air basin, that was it! This year, the USFS is following the same plan – the Schaeffer Fire (11,000 acres and counting) continues to plague our valley with thick, unhealthy smoke every day. Every one of these fires were discovered when they were fairly small, and could have been controlled in a short time period with limited resources. Instead, the USFS allowed them to burn, ‘managing’ each with hundreds of personnel for extended periods of time, all the while subjecting us to poor air quality! This makes no sense – fiscally or humanely. They will say it is for the good of the forest – but what about people? Conventional wisdom used to be that the preferred course of action for a healthy forest was a low intensity fire burning during the cooler months of the year. This was to avoid complete destruction of the forest while allowing for better control of where the fire went. So why are we now burning high intensity fires (look at the smoke columns every afternoon) in the heat of the summer? I understand the need for fire in the forest environment, but it must be balanced with the needs of the public. The USFS advisory regarding the smoke conditions of ‘People with respiratory conditions, young children, and senior citizens may be susceptible to adverse effects. Air District officials urge residents to follow their doctor’s advice’ is getting a little old…Day after day, week after week, month after month. Apparently the USFS, Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District, and Kern County Health Department do not really care about the human toll…When is enough, enough? Who is making these decisions that adversely affect our health? Somebody is not doing their job to protect the public health.

John Hayes
Mt. Mesa


Thank you Georgianna

I am an Erskine Fire survivor. On the anniversary of the Erskine Fire devastation, the Long Term Recovery Group had a wonderful get together for all of the victims, volunteers and first responders. Certificates of appreciation were given to the groups and people who helped us all. Of course, there are people who were not acknowledged. I feel that one of those that need mention is Georgianna Armstrong. Georgianna went all out for us by coordinating the MHU project, helping many of us victims who would still be homeless without her efforts. She was always available to talk to during our times of hopelessness. She is truly my hero through all of the tragedy I endured. Thank you, Georgianna! Also special mention to Catherine Vasquez, who also assisted with the MHUs. God bless you both. I love being back home, and you made this possible.

Holly Lightner
South Lake


Stolen Yard Sale Signs

This is having to do with the thieves who stole our yard sale signs, sometime before we opened on Saturday morning. Thank goodness we had an announcement in the KV Sun, and we also put it on Tradio.
What kind of low life people are you? That you would do such a rotten thing. We always pick up our signs when our sales are over.
Just remember this, what goes around, comes around. So you will get yours, watch out!

The D’Ascenzo’s, The McCaslin’s, The Hinman’s