This Little Sand Fire is a prime example of how inept our federal government is. The fact that the government does not put this fire out and lets it continue to endanger lives, destroy property and hurt the tourist-based economy that we all try to thrive on under very tough conditions is primary example of the tremendous harm being done to our region and our nation.
It has been 10 years since the Missionary Ridge Fire, started north of Durango, was allowed to continue south and east until it eventually endangered the entire Vallecito valley, burning about 90,000 acres.
Then, just one year later, another, smaller fire on the northernmost portion of Vallecito in the wilderness was also burning, starting with just a single stump, that one of our employees spotted.
This could have been put out very easily by the proper authorities, but was allowed to burn until it consumed 1,600 acres or more. Finally, as a result of phone calls to then Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the Department of the Interior thankfully had the common sense to act on this and sent out enough people to put the fire out. This fire had entered the Vallecito Lake valley again endangering lives, property and hurting the fragile business economy there.
This fire needs to be put out now, not later, not after it damages peoples lives. Not after it causes businesses to close down. Not when the federal government sits around and waits for it to become a 100,000-acre fire.
Not at the whims of environmentalists who mostly do not even live in our region. Right now, starting today, authorities need to have the necessary crews deployed to get the fire under control and put out, before it does any more harm, winds up at Vallecito Lake and puts various other places in the path of the fire as well.
It is unbelievable that this Little Sand Fire has been burning for nearly six weeks already.
Jim Custer, Wits End Ranch
Cape Coral, Fla.