Close forests during extreme drought

To the editor,

With the 500-acre fire near Ice Lakes and no lightning or storms occurring, the most likely cause was people camping with a campfire which was not allowed, or a match or cigarette. In this drought with tinder dry forests, one match or spark can cause a forest fire. Hikers at Ice Lakes had to be airlifted out by helicopters – all at major expense. Already fire fighters are spread thin, sent to the myriad fires in the West. Since people (and it may be only one, but that’s enough for a forest a fire) are not obeying the fire restrictions, the Forest Service should close the forests to public use.

I am an avid hiker and love being in our beautiful mountains, but actions must be taken to prevent another fire. I was a fire lookout in California’s Mount Lassen National Park when a 100,000-acre fire occurred. A Caterpillar working in the woods hit a rock causing a spark, igniting a blaze that took off before the man could jump off and put the fire out. Arizona closes their forests during drought conditions, and so should we. Please close our national forests to save our forests and wildlife.

– Margaret Mayer,  Durango