Readers React: Less immigration, dry-ice drops and other out-of-the-box ideas for dealing with wildfires

An air tanker drops fire retardant over Malibu on Nov. 10.
An air tanker drops fire retardant over Malibu on Nov. 10.
(Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images)

The letters inbox at the Los Angeles Times becomes a font of ideas — some good, some less so — during times of natural disaster, such as the fires raging in Southern California and the Sierra Nevada foothills. Most of those ideas — such as avoiding development in arid non-urban areas, pursuing more aggressive forest management and curtailing climate change — are mainstream, and many of them have been published on our pages since the fires picked up last week.

The ideas that tend to remain unpublished can best be described as less mainstream.

Richard Jackson of Arroyo Grande has an idea for more efficiently spraying water:


I have heard more than one official talk about the “new normal” with respect to the terrible fires in California. But do we just have to accept this new normal? Surely some kind of prevention measures can be taken.

First, make a list of likely fire areas and prioritize them in terms of risk to life and property. Then do “engineering.” For example, we could clear-cut more firebreaks and install massive sprinkler systems.

I am not an expert, but doing something is better than just waiting for the next disaster to happen. Yes, it would cost big money. But prevention is cheaper than paying the bills when whole towns have been burned away.

Laguna Woods resident Jack Specht wants to suck up ocean water:

I am not a engineer; however, here is my layman’s suggestion for fighting these devastating wildfires.

Build huge pumping stations, each powered by diesel generators, that will suck saltwater from the Pacific Ocean and energize giant sprinklers installed in the forests and shrub areas. When a fire starts, first responders can start the pumps and douse the flames rapidly.

This would require a huge investment and bond issues. I would like to invite comments and other suggestions.

Tim Beck of Torrance suggests dropping dry-ice pellets:

At night, when the water-dropping fixed-wing aircraft have gone home, why not use helicopters to carpet-bomb the fires with tiny dry-ice pellets?

Dry ice is made of frozen carbon dioxide and is minus 109 degrees Fahrenheit. When heated, it turns to a low-hanging fog that could starve burning embers of oxygen.

Thousands of tons of dry-ice pellets can be flown in from around the country to be dropped on the fires in California.

Erick Amthor of Grahamsville, N.Y., believes we have too many immigrants:

It will be interesting to see how Democrats react to the aftermath of the tragic California fire.

Will they continue to push for open borders? Will they seek potential future Democrat votes instead of focusing on the many needs of deserving American citizens who have lost everything?

Even without the devastating fire, the number of homeless Americans continues to grow. Yet Democrats insist that America take in more undocumented individuals and provide shelter, medical, educational and employment opportunities.

Where is the concern for the children and grandchildren of Americans?

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