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Disastrous Oakland Fire

Re “Questions Out of Ashes,” editorial, Oct. 22: The so-called “fire of the future” is now!

Unfortunately, fires of this magnitude have been prevalent since the late 1940s. The policies of federal, state and local government have created this condition.

We presently have the required technology to mitigate the wildfire/structural problem in an environmentally acceptable manner. This has been demonstrated in Stone Canyon, Valencia and Topanga Canyon. Utilizing native shrubs with selective thinning will provide the ambience desired by the hillside dweller and will provide the lack of continuity of flammable fuels that create the conflagrations like Santa Barbara, Bel-Air and Oakland.

While combustible roofs and siding contribute to the problem, continuous fuel beds, both native and cultivated (ornamental), are the main fire carriers.

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Areas that exhibit low moisture, high dead-to-live-leaf ratios and therefore are prone to burn explosively under extreme weather conditions can now be identified through the use of infrared photography.

There are hundreds of areas statewide that are candidates for Oakland scenarios, with the effects of chaparral dieback and drought creating the condition that apparently was just discovered by the “futurists.” We have the capability to dramatically reduce if not eliminate this type of disaster, and to do it in a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive manner.

SCOTT E. FRANKLIN

Santa Clarita

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