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BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!

Ebbie 03 Sep 10 - 01:34 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 03 Sep 10 - 01:44 AM
Slag 03 Sep 10 - 02:00 AM
VirginiaTam 03 Sep 10 - 02:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Sep 10 - 02:26 PM
gnu 03 Sep 10 - 02:44 PM
Ebbie 03 Sep 10 - 06:55 PM
gnu 03 Sep 10 - 07:25 PM
Bill D 03 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 10 - 07:43 AM
Ebbie 04 Sep 10 - 11:03 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 10 - 12:55 PM
Joe Offer 04 Sep 10 - 04:01 PM
SINSULL 04 Sep 10 - 04:19 PM
Ebbie 04 Sep 10 - 05:30 PM
Bill D 04 Sep 10 - 06:51 PM
Ebbie 04 Sep 10 - 09:14 PM
LadyJean 04 Sep 10 - 11:35 PM
Ebbie 04 Sep 10 - 11:57 PM
Kent Davis 05 Sep 10 - 09:21 PM
Ebbie 05 Sep 10 - 09:39 PM
ChanteyLass 06 Sep 10 - 02:19 AM
Ebbie 06 Sep 10 - 03:23 AM
open mike 06 Sep 10 - 03:16 PM
open mike 06 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM
Alice 06 Sep 10 - 04:03 PM
Ebbie 06 Sep 10 - 11:15 PM

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Subject: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 01:34 AM

(Does the thread title travel well?)

I read this in the local news tonight and the gall astounds me. It appears that the firefighters back burnt four lots in order to stop a wildfire. Now the three homeowners are suing the state of Alaska for damaging their properties and affecting their value.

The last sentence is the one that really got me: The only thing that didn't burn was the cabins. (!) What do you want to bet that the properties are already green and growing again? Maybe next time they should let the wildfire travel at will - and see then how much gets damaged.

Alaska landowners sue over backburning damage
Story last updated at 9/2/2010 - 9:52 am
The Associated Press

FAIRBANKS – Private landowners in Alaska want the state to pay for the damage done by backburning to stop wildfires last year near Nenana.

Cindy Walker, Charles and Margaret Gray and the William Brewer family are asking the state for at least $100,000 in each of four lawsuits.
The property owners have lots in the Dune Lake, Totek Lake and Teklanika Channel Lake subdivisions. The subdivisions surround small lakes in the flatlands west of the Teklanika River, off the road system.

The owners told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the backfires reduced the value of their lakeside property. "The point is, what's a piece of burned-out property worth versus a piece of beautiful lakeside property?" said Bill Satterberg, who is representing the landowners.
"You can't just go around destroying people's property and not pay for it," Satterberg said.

The lawsuits were filed in Superior Court this week. The state has not responded. The News-Miner said efforts to get a comment from the Alaska Department of Law were unsuccessful.

According to court filings, the wildfires involved were the Railbelt Complex Fires that burned west of Nenana in 2009. The landowners claim the state failed to mop up after rains doused the fires and they reignited. The state decided to light backfires on private property to create a fire line, but destroyed timber and foliage on the private property, decreasing the value, according to the lawsuit.
"They basically scorched their property," Satterberg said. "The only thing that didn't get burned down were the cabins."

From here:

Anyone else got any stories of greed and ingratitude?


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 01:44 AM

"The landowners claim the state failed to mop up after rains doused the fires and they reignited."

I guess it all depends on whether or not the state was indeed negligent here as claimed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Slag
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 02:00 AM

I know for a fact that following a forest fire an ember can smolder for months or even a year in half buried wood or roots and stumps but when the right conditions hit, usually dry air and a wind, it can suddenly spring to life and take off on the regrowth. They are going to sue the state for this? I'd like to be on that jury.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 02:31 AM

I hope the court bites them hard for wasting time and money.

More pigs in this world than I care to think about.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 02:26 PM

You can't sell burnt-over vacation property. Compensation should be paid.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: gnu
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 02:44 PM

I think a more accurate desciption of what was burned, where it was burned and why it was burned would help lead to a more proper evaluation and discussion.

For example, exactly what is/are a/these "subdivision(s)". What was the intent of the controlled burn - immediate or adjacent property or fire spread or what? What is the value of the cabins? What was the value of the timber?... etc. Many questions to be answered.

Very interesting thread, Ebbie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 06:55 PM

Railbelt Fires Burnt More than Half Million Acres

Question: When California has its humongous fires is the state liable to reimburse homeowners for their losses? I dun theenk so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: gnu
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 07:25 PM

Ebbie... my take is that there has been litigation filed, so, is there a ligitimate claim? The details are yet to be read. Until then, I agree with you. But that is presumptuous on my part.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Sep 10 - 07:57 PM

I assume these folks are claiming they set 'unnecessary' backfires....and I also assume a little testimony from firefighters will clear THAT up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 07:43 AM

It seems reasonable that the cost of this kind of damage should be shared by everyone rather than falling on a few random people. "The state" here means "everyone".


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 11:03 AM

But if that were so - in the US - then people wouldn't talk about "having lost everything and having to start over" or tell us that they had "insurance but not nearly enough".

California probably has had more devastating brush fires than any other state in the union - and I do NOT believe that the state picks up the cost of individual loss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 12:55 PM

I said "reasonable".


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 04:01 PM

I do believe that fire agencies in the US can be sued for negligence. I worked in Los Alamos, New Mexico, during a summer sometime in the 1990s. That summer, there was a fair-sized wildfire at Los Alamos that was started by a "controlled burn" set by the National Park Service at Bandolier National Monument. The wind kicked up, and there was a wildfire. The next year, a very serious wildfire started in the same way, and I believe the National Park Service paid compensation. If there is damage caused in the process of fighting a wildfire, that's another matter.

There was compensation paid in the wildfire that affected open mike - I don't remember whether it was the Union Pacific Railroad or Pacific Gas and Electric who paid. Both the railroad and the utility have had to pay wildfire damage claims on occasion.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: SINSULL
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 04:19 PM

I can see it now. No backfires can be lit without the approval in writing and triplicate of the property owners. Maybe the state should get that on record when a property is purchased. No signature/no back burn/goodbye cabin.
SINS, tongue planted firmly in cheek.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 05:30 PM

And they have to guarantee in writing, Sins, that it will work and that it will not cause any damage that will affect the value of their property...


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 06:51 PM

I'm SURE the same lawyers can work out how to sue the government for NOT doing something.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 09:14 PM

It occurs to me that the same people who want guarantees - in writing - that firefighters who save their property will not adversely impact the potential saleability of their home are also the the ones who, should they find that the firefighters have serendipitously improved their property by burning dead or unsafe trees or removing unsightly or unwanted sheds and other unusable buildings, will insist on writing out a check to the city or state for the added value.

Right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: LadyJean
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 11:35 PM

The woman next door just did in another of my flower beds. I dream ov moving, and know I can't because I can't sell my house in this market.

Those homeowners in Alaska won't be able to sell their property either, not for another few years. They can wait and make do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Sep 10 - 11:57 PM

Big deal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Kent Davis
Date: 05 Sep 10 - 09:21 PM

If those landowners win, I certainly hope the state of Alaska will then CHARGE them for saving their houses and, perhaps, their lives. I was thinking about $200,000 apiece.

Kent


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Sep 10 - 09:39 PM

I'm thinking along those same lines, Kent. On the other hand, I really don't think the case will go very far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 02:19 AM

Are the plaintiffs friends of Sarah Palin?


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 03:23 AM

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: open mike
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 03:16 PM

update, correction, etc.
(thought this was a recipe thread@!)

in 2001 we had several local fires that went to over 10,000 acres..
one was started by an arsonist....firecrackers made into an incendiary device. One was started by a tree into a high tension powerline. For this the Electric company was sued. and they offered some settlement for those who lost everything in that fire.

Another fire that went to over 100,000 acres was started by rr workers welding on a hot windy day .For this i believe the rr was sued for compensation.

the fires in 2008 were mainly caused by lightning...thousands of strikes in one day. the volume of fire overwhelmed the local fire fighting forces and activated the mutual aid system .Many of the fire fighteers who came to help were from out of the area. After a couple of weeks, the local fires nearby the community had been largely
contained and controlled, and the evacuation that had been in place was lifted, as it was believed that there was no immediate danger.

people who had loaded possessions, pets, etc in trailers returned to their homes, and most of them brought all of their evacuated goods with them.

The dense smoke that blanketed many square miles reduced visibility so that a fire a few miles away was not spotted until it was over 100 acres. Then it grew to 1000 acres. the terrain causes predictable
wind phenomenon...up canyon winds as the valley heats during the day turning to down canyon winds as the coolness of night sets it. The team that was in the area conducting fire fighting operations was not from this area. they were from bakersfield where the flat desert area
does not present such air flow patterns. the decision was made to light a substantial back fire between the advancing flame front and the residential area. the fires were lit near midnight. local fire
officials said "don't do it!" the out-of-area team ignored warnings.

at 2;30 THE FIRE JUMPED ALL LINES AND SWEPT THRU THE POPULATED AREA.
POLICE,HIGHWAY PATROL AND SHERRIFFS DROVE THRU THE NEIGHBORHOOD
WITH SIRENS ON ANNOUNCING OVER LOUD SPEAKERS TO "GET OUT" WE WERE TOLD WE HAD ABOUT 20 MINUTES TO GATHER UP EVERYTHING AND LEAVE.

THE FIRE THAT EVENTUALLY CONSUMED OVER 200 HOMES WAS A DIRECT RESULT OF HUMAN DECISIONS AND ACTIONS....THE BACK FIRE DID LITERALLY BACK FIRE.

it is possible that the oncoming fire would have done some damage if the line of fire had not been started by officials, but it certainly was not a fire totally caused by mother nature when it came down to the final destructive wave of flames!!

there was no compensation by the state fire agency for damage done.

it is doubtful that any houses were actually saved by the back fire.

some of the local fire officials felt terrible that the situation had been handled the way it was.

For those with little or no insurance (including me)
the county did provide dumpsters for the charred debris that remained and there were teams of clean up workers who removed the rubble that was determined to be toxic or dangerous. That was about the extent of help the government offered. no FEMA grants were awarded, as the damage occurred to less than 800 homes, which is thier qualifying limit. the utility companies, when they came to replace their lines and poles, cut down trees and left them piled on people's property with no offer to clean them up or remove these huge trees., they cut everything within 100 yards of their wires so to prevent any trees falling on them. i was faced with tons of trees cluttering up my yard and still cannot build a garden because they are in the way. i hired a bull dozer to move some, and was able to sell some to loggers,and mill some for building materials. even though they died 2 years ago and have sat in the sun for that amount of time i still cannot get these piles of trees to burn....though i have cut and piled brush and trees on and around them, and burned these piles several times....the
huge piles of timber still remain. any way the after math of the fire continues, and at first the salvation army and red cross helped a bit, but 2 years down the road, i am still living in a temporary motor home and strruggling to get over the fire. it is exhausting!

I thank all my mudcat friends who helped me...and I am glad I have
music to help me keep my strength up. (i can't say i have kept my
sanity thru all this......)


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: open mike
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 03:19 PM

fire protection used to be a membership deal..back in the early days of volunteer fire companies...if you were a paid member, your property would be protected, if not, well.....not.

the public agencies who protect life and property
now are duty bound to give all equal protection


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Alice
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 04:03 PM

Ebbie, here is one that takes the cake even more!

The Republican congressman for Montana, Dennis Rehberg, is suing the firefighters because he didn't like the way they fought a fire on land that he inherited from his family and developed as a subdivision near Billings.

quote From the Billings Gazette:
While avoiding specifics because of the pending lawsuit, Fire Chief Paul Dextras said his department sticks to its priorities in each fire it fights and did so in the Rehberg fire, too.

"The priority that we have is protecting life. Protecting property is second, protecting open space is third," Dextras said recently. "That's where most of the resources were allocated when fighting that fire. Crews did an outstanding job of being prepared if the fire were to go into the developed area."

CLICK for the rest of the article


Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: BS: Now Doesn't That Take the Cake!
From: Ebbie
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 11:15 PM

Wow. What comes through most clearly is that no part of wildfire is fun, whether as the target or the fighter.


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Mudcat time: 23 September 7:29 PM EDT

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