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Our View: Quick response to fires saved lives, property

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Hot, dry and windy conditions make foothill fires truly fierce. Residents in the Bowman area received a scare Saturday when a two-acre blaze threatened homes on the outskirts of Auburn. Residents were thankful indeed when air tankers from nearby Cal Fire arrived within minutes to douse the flames from the sky above. Shooting flames and a huge column of smoke caused neighbors, whose homes are on the edge of the American River Canyon, to begin watering down their roofs with garden hoses. Some residents were even gathering up sacred belongings, fearing a mandatory evacuation was imminent and the loss of their homes a distinct possibility. But when firefighters quickly arrived, they got the blaze under control before any homes were damaged. All those living nearby were then able to relax knowing that we are blessed to have professionally trained firefighters with air-suppression capabilities at the ready, in case of an emergency just like Saturday afternoon’s. And that wasn’t the only fire or even the biggest blaze for Placer County over the Labor Day weekend. On Monday, a wind-borne blaze destroyed more than 500 acres and three homes in rural Lincoln. That fire scared Lincoln-area Placer County residents to their core. Many frantically gathered personal belongings, and were herding pets and livestock for evacuation. Some vehicles, outbuildings and the three homes were lost. Unfortunately, that happens. No lives were lost, however, because of the actions of residents and local emergency personnel Cal Fire firefighters acted quickly, professionally and saved precious lives and property. They hit the blaze with helicopters from the sky and engines and personnel on the ground. It was a cooperative, multijurisdictional effort with 40 fire engines, air tankers and helicopters, police and sheriffs all working together to make the scene safe once again. What can be learned by this weekend’s fires? A few things: • The start of school may mean summer is over for the kids, but Mother Nature follows her own calendar and fire season is definitely still with us and in full force. Residents must be vigilant. • Our local firefighters are second to none. These men and women are ready to risk their lives to save our loved ones and our property 24 hours a day. We should appreciate them. They have earned our respect and support. • When firefighters are asking for necessary cost-of-living raises or money for needed equipment, think about this weekend and what could have been. If you truly want to say thank you, actions speak louder than words. The big message here is that it’s not over. The foothills eluded disaster this time, thanks to a quick and professional response. We have our firefighters and other emergency responders to thank. Thank you, from all of us.