I was born in Santa Maria in the early 1940s. Though I resided in Southern California for about 30 years, I have stayed connected with this area through my relatives. For the past 32 years I have lived in the Santa Ynez Valley. When I was growing up, I do not remember us having fires as we have had in the past few years. I do remember the landowners, ranchers, and farmers conducting control burns on their properties to lessen the chance of fire.
With all the current rules and regulations, it is almost impossible for a landowner to conduct a controlled burn. The people opposed to the control burns were complaining the landowners were letting the fires burn more of an area than they requested; they were not controlling the burns. The opposition was also complaining about the smoke caused by the burns.
Since we no longer have controlled burns, we now have fires that last for weeks, polluting the skies with smoke, destroying homes, and placing the firefighters in harm’s way. I would much rather see a control burn get a little out of control than live through the types of fires we are now seeing yearly.
The destruction caused by these fires is bad enough without factoring in the amount of money that is spent fighting the fires and the amount of water used that is coming out of our local lakes.
When is this state going to wake up, remove some of these restrictions, use some common sense and go back to allowing landowners to do control burns?