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Letters to the Editor: The next Lahaina? Any town with high winds and dangling power lines

A Hawaiian flag and crosses honoring wildfire victims can be seen in Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 21.
A Hawaiian flag and crosses honoring wildfire victims can be seen in Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 21.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
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To the editor: Wake up California — any of our coastal communities could be the next Lahaina. (“Hawaii power utility says its wires sparked first fire on Maui, but faults county firefighters,” Aug. 28)

The horrific firestorm that decimated Lahaina was driven by high winds, but the wind didn’t spark the blaze. It now appears that downed power lines started the fire.

We are living in a world where none of us can afford to ignore the erratic nature of climate change. Lahaina and its downed power lines serve as a graphic warning to us across the Pacific that this type of tragedy can happen in any beach town with overhead lines.

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Whether driven by the winds of a freak offshore hurricane, or by strong, dry Santa Ana winds, the threat of a scenario such as the one on Maui is inescapable.

It’s the public utilities that have the authority, the funds and the responsibility to change the dangerous dynamic of overhead wires and climate change. They must act now to bury their lines.

Lives are at stake, whole towns are at stake, and the utilities’ very survival is at stake when justice prevails in the halls of bankruptcy court.

Len and Marilyn Gardner, Dana Point

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To the editor: I am highly disturbed by the dangers to which the dogs profiled by The Times are subjected while searching for human remains in a hot environment such as Lahaina.

They are not properly equipped to avoid burning their feet and legs and, outrageously, such burns are expected by their handlers. The asphalt can exceed 150 degrees. They can land on “burning, still blazing embers.”

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Yes, these are “working” dogs. But as the group PETA says, “animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”

Ronna Siegel, Van Nuys

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