Letters to the editor for the week of July 12

Resident lends support to local candidate

Dear editor,

I met Covington City Council member Sean Smith probably around the summer of 2017, when I was setting up community meetings with Chief McCurdy to discuss the firework situation in Covington. Sean was arranging and conducting community meetings to inform citizens of city council plans and actions, and to listen to the views and concerns of Covington residents. We soon found it expedient to hold our meetings back-to-back so residents could come for one meeting and stay for the other if they chose. This would save them an extra trip as most people who were interested in one of the meetings would also be interested in the other.

Since that time, Sean has held community coffee meetings approximately every three months. He prepares well and presents the current information in an interesting and informative manner. He listens and asks questions so that he knows what we are concerned about and what we would like done by the city council. When appropriate, he lets us know the various sides of an issue that is raised. He delineates what the challenges are and what the City of Covington is doing to rise to those challenges.

To my knowledge, he is the only member of the city council who has routinely arranged to meet with citizens, even when an election isn’t imminent. He has maintained this contact throughout his tenure on the council. I have been impressed by his clarity and his mastery of the issues. He is up for re-election this November and I can’t think of a better person to continue to serve Covington as a city council member.


Cynthia A. Calhoun


Writer has a solution to forest fires

Dear editor,

There will be no more ‘major’ forest fires as they will all be extinguished in their infancy. This will happen on the same day that a fire is reported and it is all done from air.

This capability will happen in less than two years after and only because Congress passes an act and the president approves it that transfers the responsibility for fighting forest fires from the Forest Service (FS) to the Air Force (AF).

With the AF, they have it all; the men, the pilots, the right size aircraft, and critically important, [they have these items] in sufficient numbers to extinguish all forest fires very rapidly. The only added item is a budget to pay for this extra responsibility and other associated costs.

To clarify, the responsibility of the FS is to spot and report all forest fires. Their other responsibility is after the fire is essentially extinguished, the FS can transport a few fire fighters to the site to extinguish any smoldering embers and make sure that the fire does not reignite.

The military are active duty personnel, who will be responsible for all aspects of the aircraft involved. They are responsible for the infrastructure needed, the bays where the aircraft will be refueled and reloaded, including the large water storage tanks, even quarters for the crews. All this will be at a normal military base that is not too distant from the forest that they are to protect.

Another critical item is the size of the fire that each concept puts out. The military will have extreme priority to attacked the fire ASAP with as much water as possible resulting in a fire that is extinguished ASAP. This immediate action restricts the fire’s growth to less than 30 acres, and possibly even less than eight acres. This fact cannot be overstated as it is far beyond any dream by the FS.

Compare this to the FS plan to establish a fire line requiring two to three days, then 10 days to weeks to extinguish the fire and during this time, it has grown to perhaps 2,000 acres or more, while also burning structures and possibly taking a life or two.

Also consider, because of its mobility and quick response, large tanker aircraft must be the optimum tools. The FS has none and must rely on a bag of mixed aircraft almost all with insufficient payloads provided by contractors. The AF will bring to the fight possibly over 100 large tanker aircraft, many including C-5As with a capability that is many times more than the FS can muster. Although these aircraft will be distributed to a few bases on or near the west coast and Canada but each base should have the capability of extinguishing most all fires in their first pass.


Joseph C. Coomer

Oak Harbor