Wildfires Don’t Burn Communities

Wildfires Don’t Burn Communities  by Plainlyspoken

It is a beautiful June spring morning when you get into your car and head off to the city over an hour away for a day filled with several necessary appointments to attend. You’ve made them all in one day because of the distance down the mountain you have to go and because you really don’t like going into the city if you don’t have to go. In fact your twelve year old daughter has elected to stay home to complete her chores and care for the animals instead of going with you. It’s not the first time she’s been left home alone for the day while you were off, albeit closer to home, running errands.

Picture from Day One

The day goes along well. At the third appointment you find that it was cancelled. You didn’t get the voice mail left for you having already left for the day. On the bright side though it gives you a chance to get over to the home improvement store and home earlier in the day than originally planned. You have several items you want to pick up there to complete some projects you’re working on at home. So you’ve been inside the store for no more than ten minutes when the phone rings. Your spouse answers the phone and it’s your daughter calling. She tells her mother that a deputy sheriff is at the door telling her she must leave with him. Your spouse speaks to the deputy and is told that there is a wildfire now burning on the ridge and threatening to cut off the only road into the area. Everyone is being evacuated. He explains that he will take our daughter and keep her safe until someone can claim her. He tells her that the fire command center is at the district fire station near your home. Your spouse asks about getting your animals out and the deputy says he will pass the information on to animal control and that it’ll be up to them if they can get the animals out if they can.

You are out of that store and gone. You jump in the car knowing that the trip home will take over an hour. While you are breathing easier that your child is safe, there is the matter of your animals. They are as much family as your child. You both begin trying to figure out answers on how to save them as well. You remember that you have the business card of the owner of the stables where you keep your horse. The owner happens to be a friend as well and doesn’t even wait to be asked, but says she’ll go pick up your daughter. You agree to meet at the stables later, but that’s still an hour away. Next it’s back to trying to get the animals out, which won’t be easy considering there are five goats, seven hens, three dogs, and two cats to get moved.

You and your spouse had a primary plan to move them is out the window because you’re not at home, but that plan depended on being at home when the emergency occurred. Your backup plan is to call ‘S’, who has a ranch south of your home, outside the known wildfire zone, but their phone number (as is all the others) are not in the cell phone you have with you! Your spouse is on to information to get the number and finally gets a call in only to get voice mail. Anxiety levels are really high at this point. You just keep pushing for home. You’ve started up the lower mountain pass, 50 miles from home.

You know nothing about how large the fire has grown, how close it is to the homes in the area, nothing. So all you can do is keep going. Yet, as you hit the point where you only have 40 miles left the car loses all power. You barely get it off the side of the road before the engine dies. The engine won’t even try to kick over. Your anxiety level has just jumped upwards again! Luckily you’re in one of the few spots coming up the pass that you get cell service in, so your spouse gets on the phone to AAA for a tow truck and rental car arrangements. Then it’s down to waiting. Cars fly by on the roadway, people going about their business. After about ten minutes, one person in an SUV pulls up behind to offer any assistance he can. You thank him and tell him a tow is on the way. He goes on his way. Your wife then tells you that there is one rental car available at the small agency in the next town, but they close at 5pm. It’s 4:35pm now and you don’t know if you can get there in time. It all depends on the tow. You comment to your wife how you could really use a state trooper to come along and within minutes you see the flashing lights of a patrol car pulling up behind you. You explain to the trooper what is going on and ask him to take your wife into town to get to that rental car before they close. He agrees readily and tells you he is on his way to the wildfire for traffic control after that.

Now you’re on your own waiting for that tow truck, confident you’ll have wheels to keep going as soon as you get into town. The tow truck gets there by the time you’ve worn a path in the weeds from pacing alongside the car. A short time later you meet up with your wife and continue heading up the mountain. Once you’re in the rental car she lets you know that ‘S’ called and said she had gone up to the house at the first notice of the fire and was able to get the dogs and goats out and taken over to their ranch. ‘S’ said she tried to get the cats but that wasn’t possible and the fire was getting close to possibly cutting the road out so she had to go ‘S’ is an EMS volunteer for the fire district so had her radio to monitor the traffic). We thanked her and said we’d meet her at the district fire station after we got our daughter.

At the stables we talk with the owner to hear the latest news – which is no different from what we already knew. But in that conversation she offered us a place to stay while we were displaced if we needed it. We thanked her and said we may take up her offer. After getting our daughter we drove down towards our home, still about twenty miles away. We don’t know where the restricted zone starts, but we have heard it’s at the community church about a mile from the road up the ridge to our home. We go to the fire station about a mile east of the church and meet up with ‘S’ there. We find her and she tells us that the RV has been pulled up next to their ranch house and awaits our use. No asking, just offered and we gratefully accepted. We’ll get through the restricted zone since ‘S’ is with the fire district. We load up and head through to their ranch (which is less than one mile as the crow flies from our house and the north ridge where the fire started). As we drive through we see the heavy smoke and watch the air tankers dropping on it to help create the fire breaks to keep it from spreading. Here we are with nothing but what we had with us. We knew it would be a day or more before we’d get into our home again, if there was a home left. We didn’t know if we’d have hens or cats either. There was food and water enough, but smoke would be the problem. It’ll kill them as fast as any human, and we knew there was one window partially open in the house, plus the chicken coop run hatch was open.

For the next few days we stayed in that RV, with our friends feeding us and our animals. We were given full run of the ranch and ranch house. Use what we needed and don’t worry about it we were told. We eventually got word after the first day that the county animal control officer went in and pulled out our cats and hens – they were now safe at the officer’s home. The second day of the fire we got a twenty minute pass in the afternoon to get in and get necessary medications and anything else we could grab, plus my truck. We saw that our house stood, untouched so far. Once out we wouldn’t be allowed in again until the evacuation was over. We also found out that afternoon that our car back in town was moved over to the repair shop for us, without charge, by the rental agency.

The evacuation was lifted at 9pm two days after the fire started. We went home the morning after and moved our goats and dogs back using a cage and truck loaned to us by ‘S’. I’ll be using that truck, at her insistence, until our car is repaired. The county animal control officer brought our cats and hens back to us instead of requiring us come to get them. She had done her “duty” just getting them out for us, bringing them home was an act of caring for those who had their hands full getting homes settled in again. When my wife had to go to her job (before the evacuation was lifted), she was offered a place to stay until her work week was over to save on gas (which she accepted).

We are back at our home now. No structures were damaged or lost due to the efforts of the firefighters, from local volunteer crews to federal wildfire crews. How do you thank then for their around-the-clock efforts? Words are never enough, but it is all we have. All our animals are settling in nicely again and life has returned to normal for us here. My wife and I are evaluating the incident and the weakness of our planning so that we can improve our response options. But, the real point of this story is the community response. It is the voluntary actions of others, from risking their safety, to offering help, food and lodging, and other acts of kindness that this article is about. When all isn’t well it is people, friends and strangers, that make the difference for everyone affected by an incident. My family was far from the only ones being offered aid to get through the disruption of evacuation. There were many who had volunteer standing by with livestock trailers to come in and shift animals out of the affected zone. It was a group of volunteers who manned the fairgrounds to help watch over and care for displaced animals. Local ranches provided space as needed too. I personally know of two rescued, and now unwanted by their owner, goats who are going to a new caring home of a local goat ranch – there to live out their life eating their fill and being well loved. There were no “mandates” by government for them to act. They rise up and help, giving of what they have for their neighbors. It is that community that we all want to come together as the days and weeks get tougher for many in our country. It’s time to remember that government provides services, but it is the people that give of themselves for the good of all without government interference that makes the difference between a society and a community. No government will ever be able to create community.

It is that community that will sustain society, not uncaring bureaucrats and politicians compelling us to care.



  1. Good Morning, Plainly….. Community involvement is completely necessary. But, you do not have to tell those in the country about this. It is already a fact. At our ranch, we all are in contact with each other. We have what we call safe houses already designated in case of range fires. We each have the combinations of the back gate locks and ranch roads established to each others property in case the main road is cut. We have cattle evacuation plans in place and designated ranch’s where to go. Livestock is the main stay of any ranch more important than the house or the cars or furniture. There is no insurance available to replace cattle. No one can afford it even if it were available. We do this without government help nor do we want it. We have a volunteer fired department that is manned 24/7….and all ranchers and ranch employees are part of it.

    In the city, most people do not even know their neighbors much less have the inclination to set anything up and it is a shame.

    Have a good day.

  2. I seriously need to move to the country-but unfortunately it isn’t that easy to just up and move. I’m not sure what the problem is with the city-maybe we live too close together, most of the neighborhoods I have lived in people seem not to want to really get to know their neighbors. I have felt that way too-so many people everywhere you want a little privacy when you go home. Don’t get me wrong we have a community of sorts-it’s just spread out with friends in different neighborhoods-not really a definition of community I guess. Or maybe it’s just a false sense of security, people look to the services and not the people. So we don’t have that feeling of needing our neighbors. Maybe that’s the biggest bad about government-it takes that communal feeling of need for each other from the people and opens the door to petty prejudices and anger.

    I’m very glad everything worked out Plainlyspoken and you and yours are all okay!!

  3. Plainly,

    Good morning and glad things came out so well! What are your first thoughts on changes you will be making?
    You have the community network and support. Looks like only major acts of nature are beyond what you can/have addressed.

  4. gmanfortruth says:

    Good Morning Everyone 🙂

    It seems that nature’s fury is happening everywhere lately. Wildfires, epic flooding, tornados wiping out parts of towns and we still have a hurricane season to deal with. Plainlyspokens story is a great read, you feel the anxiety he must have felt.

    One of the things that has been missing from the news throughout all these disasters, are reports of looting. Massive destruction in the South and Midwest, yet not a single major story of looters. That is a great sign that people are far more civil than many give credit.

    As the Colonel has noted, planning for these to the extent possible is a good idea, but even some of the best plans can have glitches that may need to be thought out. Hopefully, a feel good story will give everyone a break from all us “doom and gloomers” 🙂

    • Mathius™ says:

      Even the best of plans rarely survives the first two minutes of combat any emergency.

  5. Mathius™ says:


    I’m glad everyone and everything turned out well.

    That said, does anyone want to do say the obvious, or is it going to have to be me again?

  6. Makes you count your blessings. Glad everything worked out well PS. I live in a city of 25000. That’s about 20000 more than I’m comfortable with. There is not enough cash in the world to make me want to live in NYC or Chicago or the other big cities. When it comes down to it there are only so many people you can count on. Kudos to your neighbors for doing the right thing.

  7. Just for fun-want a case of the heeby jebbies

    Family Driven From Home by Hundreds of Snakes
    Wife called it “Satan’s Lair”
    By Greg Wilson
    | Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 | Updated 10:01 AM EDT

    An Idaho family was driven from their home and into bankruptcy by “hundreds and hundreds” of snakes that slithered inside the walls as they slept and left them and their children terrified.

    The garter snakes were so prevalent that the ground around their home appeared to move, according to Ben and Amber Sessions. Ben Sessions killed 42 of the serpents in one day, but eventually gave up and abandoned the home they had bought in 2009.

    “It was like living in one of those horror movies,” Sessions, 31, told The Associated Press.

    They bought the house aware of the snake situation, but they thought it was overblown. Yet everyone in and around the small town of Rexburg seemed to know about the “snake house.”

    “I felt bad,” said Dustin Chambers, a neighbor. “By the time we knew someone had bought it, they were already moving in. It was too late.”

    The family couldn’t continue living in the home and ended up filing for bankruptcy.

    “It was just so stressful,” Amber Sessions told the AP. “It felt like we were living in Satan’s lair, that’s the only way to really explain it.”

    The house, which the Sessions bought for $180,000, has been taken over by the lender. It is now on the market for $109,200.

    • No. Freakin. Way. I see no problem in all snakes being exterminated. They show their slithery faces to me at the lake occasionally. I quickly find somewhere else to be when that happens. 🙂

    • Mathius™ says:

      Maybe they should buy a mongoose?

      • Maybe the Realtor should have done something ABOUT the snakes before SELLING the house to some unsuspecting sucker?

        • Mathius™ says:

          Maybe the buyer should have gone to see the property first.

          Seriously, who puts down 180k without taking a trip to see first-hand what they’re getting?

  8. Mathius™ says:

    She tells her mother that a deputy sheriff is at the door telling her she must leave with him.

    Ok, local government.. paid for with tax dollars stolen from you. This would be a sheriff of the same organization which (I think it was you) you described as bullying and who run a protection racket and give tickets to raise revenue rather than protect the people. (if it wasn’t you, then it was other people here).

    burning on the ridge and threatening to cut off the only road into the area.

    This is the road built and maintained by the local government with (most likely) federal funds. This costs the county far more than the value that the majority of the citizens derive from it. So they’re paying for something they don’t use and which gives you inordinate benefit.. smells like wealth redistribution.

    Everyone is being evacuated.

    Sounds like some bureaucrat had to sit in an office somewhere and draw up evacuation plans.. Possibly the same bureaucrat about whom you said “not uncaring bureaucrats and politicians.”

    the deputy says he will pass the information on to animal control and that it’ll be up to them if they can get the animals out if they can.

    Here’s that bullying officer following some bureaucrat’s plan and notifying another government agency who will provide a service, free of charge to you, paid for by the whole community via compulsory taxation. I don’t know about your community, but I would guess that animal control is at least partially funded by the state.

    you could really use a state trooper to come along and within minutes you see the flashing lights of a patrol car pulling up behind you. My, that’s very convenient.. “It is that community that will sustain society” Do you define your community as your entire state.. you know, since a state trooper is part of a statewide (and state funded) agency. In fact, I seem to recall that a lot of the stimulus money found up in the hands of state and local PD’s. (The Google seems to back this up..)

    The county animal control officer brought our cats and hens back to us instead of requiring us come to get them. She had done her “duty” just getting them out for us Look at how that nice government employee went above and beyond to do a great job. Boy, that sure does seem to fly in the face of everyone who keeps telling me that government can never do anything right..

    air tankers dropping on it to help create the fire breaks to keep it from spreading. Your community doesn’t own an air tanker. You know who has an air tanker available for you? FEMA.

    No structures were damaged or lost due to the efforts of the firefighters, from local volunteer crews to federal wildfire crews. Federal crews.. federal crews.. federal crews.. nope, I’m just not seeing them mentioned at the end where you explained to us that It is the “community that will sustain society”

    Just throwing this out there.. you give a lot of credit to the community (and rightfully so), but you sincerely short-change the state and federal government. You malign as politicians and bureaucrats a lot of the people who worked behind the scenes and laid the groundwork and funded and coordinated a massive operation that saved the life of your home, your animals, and yes, your daughter.

    • I’m not against all government,I even think we need a Federal government- so out of all you just listed how much has anything to do with the federal government. How much came from state and local government?

      • And how much could have been handled through private business and volunteers. I know we talk alot about no government on here but I think most people simply want the federal government alot smaller.

        • Mathius™ says:

          The cost of this operation was probably north of 10 million – easy.

          Who is going to pick up that bill?

          You think Plainly is going to subscribe to $15,000 / year insurance premiums? Because the people living in the city aren’t going to pick up the tab in a “private business” scenario.

          Or do they call him up, and make him pay the whole bill upfront? Plainly, do you happen to have a million bucks sitting around somewhere (I’ll assume you’re splitting the cost with 9 neighbors in the area).

          By the way, don’t forget to pay for your own access road.. some quick googling suggests that 1/4 mile runs about $26,000 and would have to be repaired every few years. Oh boy.. and I wouldn’t even want to consider the cost to plow that sucker..

          • WRONG. My lake property is on a private road. Two neighbors have large tractors and they maintain our road. There are 12 other homes on the road.I give up $50/yr to help with gas and tractor maintenance. The guys tell it’s too much. It’s worth it to me.

            • Mathius™ says:

              How long is your road? Is it in the mountains?

              Plainly’s is an hour from the city in mountainous terrain.

              Not sure what his share of that would be, but I’m sure it would be a fair sight north of $50, even if he neighbor does happen to, conveniently, own a tractor.

              Remember, the question was “private business” model.. so who is paying for the road from the city to the foothills, too? He’s not just on the hook for the last 1/4 mile. He has to pool with his neighbors and fund the whole thing. And maintain it. And plow it.

            • Anita,
              Sounds familiar – I use my tractor to maintain our mile long private road. Our 10 neighbors all pitch in for gravel, culverts, gas, and they always give me a little extra for my time and efforts. I do it because I like doing that kind of stuff and it’s kinda “FUN”!! But that “extra” comes no where near what it would cost to hire someone.

              If you had to hire someone, it would be $1000 or more per year.

          • Mathius,

            The access road into the area was build by the developer who originally built the area. I t was built to the standards set by government and then given to government. Their “maintenance of this (dirt) road comes from the property taxes (there is a mill levy covering it) to grade it several times a year.

            Not all roads are built with public funds. Again, you make assumptions (which you have more than once dinged others for constantly doing).

      • Mathius™ says:

        Probably 40% local, 50% state, 10% federal (just making stuff up here).

        I’d say that the feds, however, paid a lot more than meets the eye.

        But you, V, are more.. liberal… than a lot of people here. This wasn’t really intended for you.

        Either way, it seems to me that he credits his community for being good neighbors (and rightfully so) while minimizing the government’s role in actually alerting his daughter, saving his animals, and stopping the fire. State troopers, FEMA air tankers, probably FEMA trailers to stay in, federal funding for state and local PD and FD, state funding for animal control, state funding for roads to get to and from the fire, the list goes on and on.. and he then has the audacity to slap them down as uncaring politicians and bureaucrats as if they were completely irrelevant to the ordeal.

        And, beyond all of this is no recognition that he received a multi-multi-million dollar service, 99.999% of which was paid for via involuntary taxation on other people who did not choose to live in the middle of nowhere and received no benefit. There is no recognition of the MASSIVE amount of wealth redistribution that went on for his benefit. If his tax dollars went to, say, drug rehab for the homeless, he might very plausibly gripe that he never agreed to that, and that he doesn’t receive any benefit, so why is he paying?

        And tomorrow we’ll have another discussion about how big government is the problem, how taxation is evil, how wealth redistribution is immoral, how government can never get anything right. And Plainlyspoken will probably join the choir from his intact house surrounded by his intact livestock, and living (thank god) daughter.

        • Drug Rehab for the homeless??? I would sure gripe like hell.

          • Mathius™ says:

            But you don’t see anything wrong with forcing people who don’t live in fire-prone areas to pick up the tab for saving your house and animals?

            • PS situation was not the same thing and you damn well know it. You are just trying to create an arguement for the sake of arguing. P.S. is right. You are being an ass, and you’re not worth answering.

              • Mathius™ says:

                So much hostility today.. what? Did you wake up on the wrong side of your fallout shelter today?

                It’s a legitimate comparison. In one, PS has taken a risk (opting to live near a fire hazard). The hazard manifest and he has to be rescued by the government using millions of tax dollars. These tax dollars were collected (without a say in the matter) from thousands/millions (depending where he lives) (and, including fed money, hundreds of millions) of people who did not take the risk he did.

                In the other scenario, a druggie has taken a risk (opting to use addictive drugs in the first place). The hazard manifests and he has to be rescued by a government program using tax dollars. These tax dollars were collected (without a say in the matter) from thousands/millions (depending on where he lives) (and, including fed money, hundreds of millions) of people who did not take the risk he did.

                Seems to me that this is pretty on the nose.

                But go ahead, keep calling me an ass and never address my point. That’s fine. It’s still a free country.

              • USWeapon says:

                Actually Mathius… I can see why you may feel that they are pertinent comparisons, but I don’t think that they are a proper comparison.

                Every place you can choose to live has with it inherent, although unlikely, risks of natural disaster causing impending catastrophe. You literally cannot choose to live in a place where this isn’t the case. Be it Earthquakes, Tornado, Fire, Monsoon, Hurricane, Higher risk of being a terrorist target, whatever, there is always risk and you can merely mitigate the risk for one by increasing the risk of another.

                A drug addict on the other hand has taken an action that has a very high likelihood of catastrophe. The risk can be mitigated by simply choosing to not do the drug.

                What you are doing is saying that walking on the sidewalk carries with it the same risk potential as walking down the middle of the LA Freeway. That simply isn’t accurate or valid.

                I won’t call you an ass, and I would prefer that others refrained from doing so as well. I believe I have addressed your point although I haven’t been able to follow all the discussions today and only read this reply rather than the other points.

              • USWeapon,
                No. Mathius’ comparison is perfectly valid. It’s much better than “a rapist calling the sky blue” or whatever that was a while back…

                It’s government assistance in one area vs government assistance in another. You just think government assistance is valid in PS’s case.

              • USWeapon says:

                No Todd. Nice Try but I don’t think so.

                First off, just because you refused to attempt to understand my comparison does not make it invalid.
                I said just because a founder wrote all men are created equal while at the same time owning slaves does not make the statement that all men are created equal false
                and added just because a child rapist says the sky is blue while being a piece of trash child rapist does not make the statement that the sky is blue false.

                It seems like simple concept that everyone who read it understood except for you and you seem to be a bit fixated on it.

                AS for Mathius’ statement. I get where he is coming from and I am OK with where he was trying to go, but I don’t feel like comparing someone taking a minimal risk that cannot be avoided no matter where you choose to live is the same as someone taking a maximum risk that is easy to avoid by simply not doing drugs.

                Again, an easy concept to get. Mathius seemed to see what I was saying. Which part is confusing you?

              • Mathius™ says:

                Below, Wep.

        • You aren’t worth answering if you continue to refuse to understand my beliefs on government Mathius.

          • Mathius™ says:

            I may not be worth answering, but I still thought it was a pretty good question.

            Answer, don’t answer.. it’s a free country.

            • I answered you more than once throughout – that you refuse to acknowledge that isn’t my problem.

              I also said you repeatedly misstate my position on government – seeming to believe I believe no federal government should exist. While that may be a nice idea to contemplate – it’s a fantasy to think it possible in this country. There will be, and just for those of you BIG govt loving types – we need some federal government. But what we don’t need is this unrestrained crap that is government that none of you on the left would tolerate if it was a [private corporation acting this way.

              • Mathius™ says:

                misstate my position I never remember what your position is.. there are too many of you to keep tabs on. We liberals are few in number, so it should be pretty easy.

                All I was saying with my initial point is that there’s a lot of government “good” going on in your post and people here spend a lot of time bashing the government as incapable of doing anything right.

                And they usually say, only local government is good, so I made sure to point out the state and federal “good” too.

                But, hey, while we’re at it, take a look at my question to USW at the bottom.. I’d love your take on the same question.

              • Then if you don’t remember what a persons position is you should best ask first before hand? The fact that there are less of the left here is invalid for an argument since I don’t agree with everyone on the right’s position so I have to try and track their beliefs too.

                You are in no worse shape than I am over that aspect.

        • And tomorrow we’ll have another discussion about how big government is the problem, how taxation is evil, how wealth redistribution is immoral, how government can never get anything right. And Plainlyspoken will probably join the choir from his intact house surrounded by his intact livestock, and living (thank god) daughter.

          Since all you can do is slap everyone who opposes your views into one broad category – then I’d say probably so. You take no time to differentiate a persons beliefs – even when they do agree with you (as I have more than once on this blog).

          For example Mathius, taxation is evil wherein the tax money is for something that some level of government has no right to stick their nose into – otherwise we need to pay for what we ask the government to provide (yet not allowing the government to continue to increase how much tax they use for it without approval of the people). If we don’t we’re no better than someone who sits on government welfare with the intent to take a free ride for as long as they can get one.

          I have never said the government can’t get anything right – again you refuse to know my positions on government.

          Now that I caught up with this comment of yours it supports a comment I made earlier.

    • Mathius,
      I had the same thought / feeling as I was reading the story – how many “good” government interactions are occuring here? And this from the people who constantly talk about how bad government is…

      • Murphy's Law says:

        Again, they were good LOCAL government interactions……not federal. Just made his point, not yours.

        • Mathius™ says:

          No, they were good local AND state AND federal interactions.

          And even then, most of the local and state interactions were at least partially paid for and coordinated by federal agencies.

          And that air tanker, which most likely saved his home? I’ll bet you a Red Bull that that’s somehow FEMA’s doing.

          You know.. that federal agency which can never do anything right.

          • Why do you make the assumptions that it takes federal level government to do all this? Are you saying that state and local governments are incapable of the very planning and operations the feds are?

            Would states be more capable of accomplishing the same things if they kept the money the feds took to create and run the agencies that you so credit over the state and local government agencies?

            Why bother having state and local government then huh? Your adoration of federal government should be able to do it all, and do it better I guess then?

            • Mathius™ says:

              There is something to be said about economies of scale….

              Then again, there is something to be said against economies of scale….

              That’s why I advocate for trying to find a balance. It is true that I, generally, will lean toward a larger centralized government than others here, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s necessarily a perfect solution. Nor have I ever advocated for getting rid of state/local and putting all the power in federal hands.

              • I didn’t say you advocated for all fed, no state/local. I asked it as a question.

                So, tell me then just what concrete limits do you propose be placed on the federal level of government? I’m curious where you believe the feds are exceeding their place/authority.

      • My thought is this is CAUSED by the government. Proper management of the forest would reduce all the wildfires we suffer. But that would mean allowing private companies to log, and to make an “evil” profit. No, I guess you and Matt’s way is better, let it burn every year and spend billions trying to fight it instead of manage it.

        • Mathius™ says:

          Actually, if they’d let it burn every year, there would be no problem. The problem is that they put out the fires, so the kindling builds up and up and up. Eventually, one really takes hold, it gets hot enough to catch the trees (most trees have fire retardant bark to one degree or another, and have you ever tried to burn fresh wood?). Once that happens, the fires are really tough to stop.

          In Cali, we do controlled burns wherever possible – this helps prevent big ones (note, the big ones ALWAYS and ONLY occur where there is a zero-tolerance policy toward any fire, such as in Calabasas).

          And your suggestion is to allow loggers to cut down all the trees, thus nothing to burn? I wonder what Plainly’s scenic views would look like then – what are you? The Once-ler?

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Thanks for pointing that out to everyone! 🙂

      • Point what out, that you, Mathius, Todd and others of your thinking believe the feds are the be all and end all?

        That we already knew.

        • Mathius™ says:

          No. But we do think they’re very helpful to have around in Big Government form..

          • Emphasis on the “Big”. None of you believe their is any limitation on how big the federal government should be – at least not in anything I can recall any of you writing on.

            • Mathius™ says:

              Then perhaps you should reread as recently as yesterday where I talked about how the government shouldn’t be involved in telling women what they can and cannot do with their uteruses..

              What in the hell is the plural of uterus? utereri?

    • Murphy's Law says:

      You make good points, Matt….but do you realize that most of them support the idea that the more local the agency, the better the outcome? Has Plainlyspoken ever said that all gov’t agencies be abolished? There are those on this blog who very vehemently say so, but they are in the minority. Most of us want the power to be more state and local, not federal. And most of the examples you just gave were of the LOCAL (or state, in the case of the trooper) gov’t agency employees who did the right thing.

      You actually just made a great case for much smaller federal government…..even those tax dollars you mention that were “most likely federal funds” to help build the roads……had they not been taken by the federal govt, they could have stayed more local, been bled off by fewer bureaucrats and been used to build the roads and have equipment on hand to help put out the fires.


      • You have to admit Matt-he makes very valid points and you do too-so what we as a society need to do is look for ways to make the Federal government smaller and less powerful-Maybe fema is necessary on a national level because managed correctly-we can share the equipment. But maybe states could work out an agreement about this type thing without the federal taking it’s chunk of cash and unavoidable waste and cheating. But the discussion needs to be on limiting governmental power and saving money while providing what we need to provide. whether the best way is government, private business, or charity. I figure in most cases the best way is not the Federal way.

        • Mathius™ says:

          See, V, this is exactly why I’ve always liked you. 🙂

          • Well, 🙂 I like you too-but if you agree with my statement-than you need to at least consider that the Federal government adds an extra layer of expense and corruption-that it welds power that affects all citizens. Power you can’t get away from. State power just makes better sense for most things economically and for freedom.

    • Matt..You are the one who says People. Are. Evil. The folks who helped out would have been there regardless if they were in uniform or not.

      • Mathius™ says:

        People. Are. Evil.

        nope.. I can’t find that in my list of Mathius’ laws..

        People. Are. Dumb.
        People. Are. Lazy.
        People. Are. Selfish.

        nope, not seeing anything on there about evil.


        But if the choice was to save their own property of save plainly’s, they’d almost all save their own hides and leave him sitting on the side of the road. People are only helpful when it doesn’t cost them too much, hence selfish.

        The trooper didn’t have his own farm at risk. The neighbor didn’t have to risk anything to let him stay. The rental car agency lost only a few bucks (maybe $20?) and, I’m sure, gained a customer for life.

        Let’s try not to be completely naïve.

        • Naive?. Look who’s talking ………..forget it The sun will rise tomorrow Matt with or without the government you worship.

        • City dwellers are stupid too.

          That neighbor came into my property and saved my animals at considerable personal risk to herself, and also provided us a place to stay. What would your neighbor do?

          You’re being an ignorant ass now with those kinds of comments.

          By the way the rental car agency is the only one within a 25 miles of where I live – I guess that may help their business.

    • Mathius, you make some assumptions that are incorrect:

      1. All those government employees who get paid by tax dollars are a part of our community – so when I speak of it I speak of them as well, even though they are getting paid for their efforts. Do not make – yet again – the mistake of lumping everyone here who is not a liberal of being against ANY government, or ANY taxation to support that government.

      2. Cops, specifically, do NOT serve and protect. They may serve AFTER the fact – but in a society that requires the act only AFTER an offense has been or is being committed they can not protect you from crime. Do you understand what I am saying here? I know many damn fine members of law enforcement too. So local, county and state cops do fit into my ideas of government. I am harsh on cops and the stupidity I see in what the public thinks they are responsible for. It’s isn;t the ,men and women doing the job but how government structures law enforcement that is the true problem.

      3. Those federal fire crews can be replaced by expanded local and state fire crews – if we had the monies being turned over to the national government that pays for those federal crews. They exist out here primarily because – unlike the eastern US – the feds refuse to allow the states the management control of public lands.

      4. Bureaucrat plan for evacuation? Your kidding us right? If they had a plan then when the deputies showed up in the area so would an army of vehicles, trailers, buses whatever to load people, animals and belongings up to transport them to a pre-set safe zone containing housing, food, water, for all the people and animals. The “plan” is just notice to get out – by you own means. The deputy had no choice but to transport out my daughter since she is a minor without a parent present. Don’t get too carried away thinking there was some great work and foresight on governments part. By the way – had I been here and refused, I could not be physically forced to leave. That’s – in the end- my choice and I am within my RIGHTS to stay on my PROPERTY (I believe we call that freedom and liberty).

      • BTW – if the FEDS had such a good plan how come they had to depend on the Salvation Army to come in and feed all those fire crews?

        • Mathius™ says:

          BTW, if there was no plan, or if the plan was so terrible, why did someone show up at your house and tell your daughter she had to evacuate?

          Or do you think the sheriff did of his on own initiative once he looked off toward the mountain and saw smoke?

          • Public safety? Isn’t that one of those areas you find government necessary?

            The “evacuation” plan does nothing beyond telling residents to go for their own safety. The government provides no assistance to moving out that which is yours. Animal control – which (hey Todd pay attention here) is paid for from county taxes that all county residents pay, not state or federal monies so you all paid ZERO for that government service (and you should have) – is under no obligation to save any animal. I couldn’t even get the deputy to agree to open the damn pen gate and give my animals a chance to get away on their own.

            Maybe you need to be in a situation directly to understand what the government will and will not “plan” for.

  9. Murphy's Law says:

    I have not lived through any disasters, really big ones anyway. But I do remember Hurricane Carla that hit Galveston in 1960- I lived in Houston at the time and we lost power for a week. I was 9, and here 50 years later I still remember how neighbors were helping each other out as far as having food, cooking it etc on grills since our area had only electric power to our homes. There was no thought of how government agencies should be helping us- that was just not on the radar screen. People just pitched in and did what was necessary.

    Very glad everything turned out ok for you, Plainly……it obviously could have been far worse. What a scare.

  10. Mathius™ says:

    Well let’s see what’s in the news for this last week..

    On Tuesday Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) pushed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for increased federal efforts to fight and prevent wildfires.

    Five federal fire engines on site [of the Ducket fire, Colorado] Sunday evening, and the U.S. Forest Service was working with local firefighters to battle the blaze.

    To say nothing about AZ or NM..

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Yes, those federal agencies are in place and were used.

      But if the dollars had stayed more local, and not been siphoned off by federal bureaucratic agencies, more would have been available to be used by state and local agencies…..fewer middlemen as it were, and a greater % of the tax dollars would be used as needed. It’s easy math….fewer payroll checks to write out of the tax monies.

      You just don’t want to admit that your post made the argument for VLDG. Very little damn govt, not no govt at all.

      • Mathius™ says:

        Looks a whole lot more like redistribution of my tax dollars…

      • Murphy’s Law,

        But if the dollars had stayed more local, and not been siphoned off by federal bureaucratic agencies, more would have been available to be used by state and local agencies…..fewer middlemen as it were, and a greater % of the tax dollars would be used as needed. It’s easy math….fewer payroll checks to write out of the tax monies.

        I see these kinds of statements here quite often. Please provide some kind of justification for this besides your “easy math”.

        And don’t forget, if Mathius’ and my tax dollars had “stayed local” they wouldn’t be available to help PS. Do you think PS’s local township could afford to have fire crews, trucks, and air tankers ready to fight a fire like this?

        • Funny Todd how you call out Murphy’s Law but ignore Mathius’ doing the same type of thing:

          Probably 40% local, 50% state, 10% federal (just making stuff up here).

          I’d say that the feds, however, paid a lot more than meets the eye.

          Also, you as well:

          And don’t forget, if Mathius’ and my tax dollars had “stayed local” they wouldn’t be available to help PS. Do you think PS’s local township could afford to have fire crews, trucks, and air tankers ready to fight a fire like this?

          Do you have some justification for that statement?

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Just imagine how much you and your community would be paying in local taxes to have an air tanker ready and available!!!

            • Just imagine how much less I’d be paying in federal taxes that could go to that air tanker here in Colorado!!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                It doesn’t work that way and you know it.

                For your community to purchase, maintain, use, etc. an air tanker would result in a huge increase in your local taxes (hell, I’d be surprised if your community – or pretty much any community – could afford it with a 100% tax burden). For the Federal government to purchase, maintain, use, etc. an air tanker (sending it to whatever locality is in need at a given time) would result in a much much much smaller increase in federal taxes as it is spread out over hundreds of millions of people.

              • Buck,

                No community – you’re correct there. But what about a State? As I wrote below to Mathius – I’m told that the air tanker belongs to the State, not the feds. Ergo it is paid for by State taxpayers. I haven’t confirmed the ownership yet, but I’ll find out if I can and let you know.

                If it turns out to be a State aircraft then you’re argument is invalid. If not then we can argue over the tanker and who can afford what.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                It doesn’t make our argument invalid — a state is a much larger entity than a municipality. Does this mean you support a big, centralized, powerful state government infringing on your rights?

              • I’d much rather have my State government any day. How large it is, how pervasive it is in our State’s society, or what it controls or governs will be more responsive to the voters of this state. Voters don’t have that level of influence in Congress and you know it.

                The feds should be limited in their authority and the primary strength should be at the level of the States. I have no problem allowing the necessary taxes to be collected for operating that LIMITED federal government either.

                I just doubt any NY Congresscritter gives a damn about the people of Colorado for the most part, and vice versa.

    • Udall should be putting forth a bill that prevents the feds from taking monies that belong to the state the citizens live in so they can use it for improving their wildfire fighting capabilities………..

      But we know he won’t ever take that stand.

    • Most western states have their own air tanker fleet paid mostly by state money. The feds have their own because much of the western forest is federal land which the states are not obligated to protect since they derive not tax dollars from them. Below is CA’s tanker fleet which now includes a 747. There are also private tankers and helos that can be called in in an emergency. As for your comments about the local LE helping, I would expect that from any local person especially ones paid for it. I do not know what your experience is with local dissasters, but I have lived through tornados, hail, heavy snow, ice storms, and now live in rural N. Cal. fire country. Everywhere I have lived, such trouble has brought out the best in people.

      In support of its ground forces, the CAL FIRE emergency response air program includes 23 Grumman S-2T 1,200 gallon airtankers (one is kept as maintenance relief), 11 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters (two are kept as maintenance relief, and 14 OV-10A airtactical aircraft (one is kept as maintenance relief). From 13 air attack and nine helitack bases located statewide, aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes.

      The airtactical planes fly overhead directing the airtankers and helicopters to critical areas of the fire for retardant and water drops. The retardant used to slow or retard the spread of a fire is a slurry mix consisting of a chemical salt compound, water, clay or a gum-thickening agent, and a coloring agent.

      While both airtankers and helicopters are equipped to carry fire retardant or water, the helicopters can also transport firefighters, equipment and injured personnel. All CAL FIRE Aircraft are strategically located throughout the state at airbases and helicopter bases. During high fire activity, CAL FIRE may move aircraft to better provide statewide air support.

      The average annual budget of the CAL FIRE Aviation Management Program is nearly $20 million. A total of 18 CAL FIRE personnel oversee the program with an additional 130 contract employees providing mechanical, pilot and management services to the program.

      CAL FIRE’s current support contractors are DynCorp and Logistics Specialties Incorporated (LSI). DynCorp provides airtanker and airtactical plane pilot services, and all aircraft maintenance services. (All CAL FIRE helicopters are flown by CAL FIRE pilots.) LSI provides procurement and parts management services.


  11. Mathius™ says:


    “You’re being an ignorant ass now”

    Maybe you could dial it back a little?

    SUFA rule #1: Polite and courteous discussion without the animosity and name-calling of lesser blogs.

  12. Mathius™ says:
    • I think the media is trying to pick the Repug winner, someone who will lose to Obama, no matter how terrible he is on the economy, housing, education, jobs, Libya,should I go on????

      • Mathius™ says:

        Yes, because Fox is in the tank for Obama.

        Or do you not count the biggest player in the mainstream media to be a member of the media?

        • Matt,

          Biggest player in MSM would be the big three, ABC, NBC & CBS. They have around 20 million viewers, the worst network has twice FOXes two million. I think the questions were lame. What would you ask someone wanting to be Pres.? One or three hard questions that would decide who you would vote for? IPhone or Android? Thick or thin crust? The double dip in housing, with the housing bubble burst causing the recession? Naw, lets talk pizza.

  13. Canine Weapon says:

    • Dear God.

      The most offensive political video ad since it was revealed that Johnson’s “Daisy” spot was actually created by radical antisemitic environmentalists has just hit the Internet.

      This new video is titled “Give us your cash, B–ch!” And it only gets worse from there.

      Apparently, Janice Hahn — a Los Angeles councilwoman running as the Democratic congressional candidate in a July 12 California special election — is not well liked by some. The voice-over explains that Hahn “helped [gang members] get out of jail so they could rape and kill again … ” It then launches into the most racist (though some question this), fear-mongering, sexist sing-a-long the political world may ever see, before it all ends in 2012.

      Who’s behind this horribly hilarious video that also features a stripper wearing a cut-out Hahn mask? That would be Turn Right USA, a conservative PAC dedicated to fighting the evil George Soros in all his forms.

      Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/14/turn-right-usas-offensive-attack-ad-against-california-democrat-janice-hahn/#ixzz1PNOJKw1d

      • Mathius™ says:

        Wow.. that actually makes me want to vote for her..

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        I haven’t seen anything that good since “Springtime for Hitler” in the original “Producers”. Awesome!!!!

  14. Mathius™ says:

    Fair enough, USWeapon.

    How about single-payer health care then?

    Since PS is justified in using the government to aggregate the costs/risks of living in an area prone to fire because he has to live somewhere and that anywhere will have risk, then it seem to me that living has risks too. Since I have to live and I cannot control when something bad will happen (say contracting Ebola after being bitten by a stray velociraptor), then am I similarly justified in using the government to aggregate the costs/risks of my health care?

    In one, Plainly has taken an somewhat unavoidable risk in choosing a place to live. A hazard manifests (fire). The government has to spend tens of millions of dollars to protect him. This is paid for by tax dollars taken involuntarily from people who did not have a say in the matter and who received no direct personal benefit.

    In the other, I have taken a somewhat unavoidable risk in continuing to stay alive. A hazard manifests (Ebola). The government has to be spend tens of thousands of dollars to protect me. This is paid for by tax dollars taken involuntarily from people who did not have a say in the matter and who received no direct personal benefit.

    Why is one perfectly acceptable and the other is catastrophic government overreach. It seems to me that we must pick both or neither in order to be consistent.

    • USWeapon says:


      That is a much more accurate comparison than the previous one. I will have to mull over what you are proposing, but it is much easier to do with this scenario than the other. My initial thought is that I agree they are the same when a hazard presents itself (fire or ebola) as both hazards are unlikely and not a direct result of one’s actions. Overall health care though isn’t as simple as that. But I cannot say that you are wrong until I think it through a little more.

      Fair enough?

      By the way, the raptor rabies series is far more painful than the regular rabies series, and more difficult to administer as the injection site (abdomen) is usually pretty tore up from the bite of the stray raptor. I would avoid any raptors that you are not familiar with the disposition of.

      • Mathius™ says:


        Solid advice re raptors.

        I’ll look forward to your answer as this. I’m very interested in the direction this discussion has taken.


      • USW,

        How about the government forbidding Plainly(the state) from selling their timber to logging companies, which would result in regular fire breaks, reducing the danger and provide revenue to pay for fire fighting services? Consider hunting permits and fees pay for the majority of wildlife conservation. Use the same logic with forests.

    • Who said one example is perfectly acceptable and the other isn’t? Certainly wasn’t me. I don;t recall being asked if I wanted any federal forestry fire crews here to fight this fire. There were several professional firefighters who felt the response by the feds was overboard. Two even question why the air tanker was sent in at all on this particular fire.

      Unfortunately, we’ll never know who would be right on whether the feds even needed to be involved.

      BTW – I’m told, though I haven’t confirmed it yet, that the air tanker was a state forestry aircraft (paid for by the tax dollars of the taxpayers of the State of Colorado). When I know for sure who owns it I’ll be sure to let you know.

  15. Bamadad says:

    Good reason to keep assistance on a local level.


    • A shame! Hey Matt! Your tax dollars at work…all bow to FEMA!

      • Mathius™ says:

        Got it.. FEMA gets something mixed up (probably switched the address by mistake or some such) – proof that FEMA (and by extension) all government programs are incompetent.

        BofA tries to foreclose on homes without mortgages – but that doesn’t discourage your faith in the private sector in any way.

        Makes perfect sense to me.

        • Those mortgages are in the FED squirell cage!

          • Canine Weapon says:


            • 🙂 My dog was THIS close to getting one yesterday..funny as hell.

              • gmanfortruth says:

                My beagle/Jack Russell mix was on the tail feathers of a hen turkey in the backyard yesterday, that was hilarious. Turkeys can run very fast and change directions so fast, the poor dog rolled herself trying to keep up. Absolutely hilarious 😆

              • Mathius™ says:

                My dog has a thing for chipmunks. She was chasing one the other day and it tried to get under my deck.. I wound up kicking it back into open to giver her another shot at catching it. It still got away though.

                I’m thinking that, perhaps, my wheaten terrier isn’t the best hunter. But she tries hard and seems to enjoy it, so who am I to complain?

                (BTW: Canine Weapon’s avatar picture is actual my pooch, Latke)

              • That may be because the baby can’t see.

              • For real V! Clip those bangs Matt!

              • Mathius™ says:

                I do.. they grow back.. and she squirms when you put scissors near her face – I’m afraid she’ll lose an eye..

  16. Most western states have their own air tanker fleet. The Feds have theirs because they own and manage huge tracts of western forest land that the states do not protect since they do not collect taxes from the land. Unfortunately, many of the western federal forests have been poorly managed in contrast to privately owned forests run by the timber industry. Also many local land owners are prevented from clearing brush and other fuel because of local and state eco laws. The S. Lake Tahoe fire a few years ago that destroyed 200+ homes was the result of over and confusing regulations that prevented the local land owners from removing pine needles and other debris that eventually caused the conflagration. The rules were adopted to help prevent run off into Lake Tahoe. Of course the run off after the fire negated all the gains from leaving the natural debris in place.

  17. Mathius™ says:

    It ain’t Colorado, but in Texas, the bills are stacking up:

    And here’s the take-away: as of April, Texas was up to $49.2 million for this fiscal year for fighting wildfires. FEMA is going to pick up the bill for 25% of that unless Obama issues some kind of order in which case FEMA will pay up to 75%.

    So, let’s assume the smaller 25% number, that’s 12.3 million bucks coming from the federal government. If we back out Texas’s contribution, (I’ll assume that Texas pays more than 1/50 of all taxes, so let’s go with population based – 8%), then that’s about $11,300,000 dollars coming from other state (783,000 from NY – you’re welcome).

    I don’t mean to harp on this, but I just hope we can all keep this in mind next time we’re busy shouting about the evils of the big mean federal government.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      No, you absolutely do mean to harp on this. As well you should.

    • gmanfortruth says:

      Matt, You seem to neglect that our big mean government is 14 trillion in debt, and growing. While it’s nice of them to pony up to those in their own country, they find more acceptable to send foriegn nations billions. Just who is going to pay for this debt? You? When they tax you at 70 or 80 percent, then you will understand.

    • Matt,

      It’s a lot less than is given NY city every year. You guys have milked 9/11 like a hormonal cow.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        I dont’ believe Texas gives more money to NY than NY gives to Texas. Any numbers that indicate this?

        From a 2005 study: http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/fedspend_per_taxesbystate-20071009.pdf (and I will say that Texas does receive back, at least did in 2005, less than $1.00 for every $1.00 spent, but New York received back even less).

      • Mathius™ says:

        You guys have milked 9/11 like a hormonal cow. Well said.

        And not just financially, either.

        That said, I’m with Buck – I’m not so sure the numbers back up your first assertion.. Yes, the money sent for this fire is less than Texas sends for everything for NY, but that’s somewhat apples and oranges. Texas and NY are both net payers into the federal government. So it isn’t really accurate to say (as I did for comedic effect) that NY is paying for Texas of visa-versa.

        But a state like New Mexico (which also has wildfires at the moment) gets more than $2 for every dollar it gives the federal government.

        Any representatives here from NM? Care to comment on the massive wealth redistribution going on from my state to yours?

        Terry? Louisiana gets $1.74 for every dollar it pays.
        Bamadad? Alabama gets $1.66 for every dollar it pays.
        Jon Smith? Virginia gets $1.51 for every dollar it pays.

        And you, LOI? Arkansas gets $1.41 for every dollar it pays in federal taxes.

        • It seems to me-this is pointing out the problem of a large federal government more than showing he need of one. I know natural disasters happen like wildfires-but this seems like the federal government is just encouraging the states not to plan for and realistically budget for their needs because they know the Federal will step in. And again the Federal government is an expensive body which takes and then gives back but in the process they add to the expense.

        • And fails to mention new York – only getting .79 cents for every dollar paid
          Colorado – .81 cents for every dollar paid.


          So why the rip off? How come ANY state should receive less than it sends?

          The cash states send should stay in their own state for use instead of being redistributed under some formula based on the governments determination of need. Especially when some of that need is some Congresscritter’s pet project funding.

          • Mathius™ says:

            It’s called wealth redistribution.

            And most of the money (though certainly not all) is going from blue states to red states. Odd….

            • Someday I’m gonna have to live in one of the red states to see what all the fuss is about.

              (Note: IF you believe the above statement then I have some swamp/desert/flooded (choose one) land to sell you)

              The redistribution is clear enough – but WHY should this be acceptable?

    • I don’t mean to harp on this, but I just hope we can all keep this in mind next time we’re busy shouting about the evils of the big mean federal government.

      So that makes it wrong to shout about big, mean, EXCESSIVE government?

      I’m afraid I won’t stop doing that, since to do so allows you, Buck, and your kind to continue in expanding government into every aspect of a person’s life. You know where you can shelve that idea right?

  18. gmanfortruth says:
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