I was out boating with friends this afternoon. We were casually motoring along the shoreline between the Bernard Peak slide toward the cement plant, east of Bayview. We came upon a column of smoke on the shoreline. Ironically it was just west of the huge fire that broke out in 2000, caused by irresponsible tourists. First, fires below the high water mark is a violation of ecological laws. Secondly, this fire was on a narrow beach adjacent to very flamable vegetation. It wasn't a cook fire or even a camp fire. It was a lets make this burn, recreational fire. One that given it's location, brought back memories of the Lakeview fire right next door, so to speak.
One of the passengers took pictures of all three of the kids cavorting around about an eight foot long log on fire. The other, the boat anchored out with the adult or adults on board, seemingly unconcerned as to the fire danger the ignorant teens had created. When I got to shore I called Kootenai County dispatch to report a potential fire danger. They seemed confused as to the jurisdiction, so I called Dick Hansen who told me it was US Forest Service land.
I called fire dispatch at Pappy Boyington Airfield in Hayden and talked to John Ryan, who stated that yes he had received the information from dispatch. I then offered to and did forward the pictures of the teens cavorting behind the fire and the vessel they arrived in. He responded that yes, someone should check to see if the fire was out, but his supervisor wouldn't ask Timberlake fire District to respond, because they would then have to pay the fire district for their expenses.
At this point, the fire may spread or it may not. But Ryan mused that apparently the bureaucracy would rather spend millions putting out a fire but nothing to prevent one. Your federal government at work. Disgusting at best, flagrantly negligent at worst. The key here is that these morons that work for the US Forest Service are not called upon to account for these negligent non-acts. Am I disgusted? You betcha!
Photo by Taryn Hecker Thonpson.
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