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Soda Canyon fire was wake-up call

From the From The Mailbag: Time is now to act on gun violence series
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A frightening and potentially dangerous grass fire started one recent afternoon at close to the mouth of Soda Canyon Road and about a mile up this poorly maintained two-lane dead-end road.

But for the very aggressive response by the Cal Fire group (three fixed-wing aircraft and one helicopter response in the air and several fire trucks on the scene) this fire could have spread up the canyon and consumed valuable life, homes, and important trees and other habitat for our earth’s creatures that call the area their home.

This fire once again illustrates rather dramatically why the Mountain Peak Winery project was poorly considered by the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission.

The Soda Canyon community put in the official county record through live testimony and tomes of documents in order to underscore the point that wineries such as MPW do not belong at the end of a pot-holed, shoulderless dead-end road in a box canyon that has a history of raging fires.

One can imagine, therefore, how frustrated we all felt when this project was approved by the Planning Commission and affirmed on appeal by the Board of Supervisors. All for what? A few more bucks for a financial investor who seemingly understands little about the dangers of the canyon?

Our public officials were elected to protect and preserve the community’s safety from latent public dangers such as the MPW project represents. Regrettably they have monumentally failed their constituents in this regard.

Will it take a massive public tragedy to cause them to really examine the dangerous nature of this canyon and how unsuited it is for public, commercial, and hospitality activity? The Board of Supervisors should consider this fire as another wake up call.

I know that the MPW project is now in the hands of the wise judicial branch of our government, and the board cannot do much to affect the outcome of this project (or can it?). But they can at least have this fire (and the previous Soda Canyon fires) as a reason why the public interest trumps the vainglorious financial interests of the few.

Yeoryios C. Apallas


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