Our View: Fire commission gives hope for balanced response to disaster
The Angora Fire has unleashed a torrent of finger-pointing and blame by worried residents of the Tahoe Basin ” in many instances, rightfully so.
When over 250 homes burn to the ground and lives are risked to contain a devastating wildfire, the appropriate response is to find out why the disaster happened and what can be done to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future.
Unfortunately, the tumult of voices has included many who have an ax to grind and others who have important, but perhaps narrow, points to make.
That’s why the governors of California and Nevada did the right thing in approving a fire commission Wednesday. The 23-member commission will hold governmental agencies accountable if their policies ” such as the often-cited restrictions on pine needle clearing ” contributed to the intensity of the destructive blaze.
The commission will have a much better chance of solving some of roadblocks to forest thinning and defensible space than what we have now ” widespread disagreement over the culpability of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the U.S. Forest Service in the disaster.
The outcome, we hope, will not only look back on what went wrong at Angora, but how the whole basin including Tahoe’s North Shore, can prevent future conflagrations.
And, perhaps one of the best things about the blue-ribbon fire commission ” it will be disbanded after delivering its report.
Because, as the fire has made clear, the last thing we need in the Tahoe Basin is another layer of bureaucracy.
What we do need is an independent, unbiased panel to search for solutions to a wildfire problem that isn’t going away anytime soon.