This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Coconino National Forest’

This is what it looks like when planes drop fire retardant. Load after load into the forests of the Western US when there’s a forest fire burning not far away. The difficult conditions of fighting fires in the west, where forests can be millions of acres, have lead to airplane tankers, smokejumpers who parachute in to fight the fire, and all manner of difficult and expensive techniques to prevent rampaging forest fires. However, the US Forestry Service has shunted $3M from wildland fire management to creating green jobs in DC.

While I am certainly thankful for jobs in the District, wouldn’t it make more sense not to steal them from areas that need the funding to make sure their houses don’t burn to the ground?

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

Facebook Twitter Flickr 

6 thoughts on “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. The slurry they drop, by the way, is mostly water and ammonium phosphate with some clay mixed in so that it will stick to the trees and create a fire-resistant but environmentally-safe coating. The red coloring is added so that pilots can clearly see where previous loads have been dropped.

    (I used to help refuel and reload these types of planes during my college days at Jefferson County Airport northwest of Denver during Colorado’s mountain fire seasons- I saw a lot of this stuff… and got covered in it most days as well!)

  2. At face value, this does sound outrageous. But according to the article, this was never money that was slated specifically for fighting wildfires out west. It was part of an umbrella section that includes forestry management everywhere. This also is stimulus money – money that was not expected funding by any groups prior to the fiscal year.

    I agree that preventing deaths and property damage due to wild fires in incredibly important, but it’s hard to read the details about this one and still think there is any kind of fraud or misuse of monies here. Terminology is a bitch though.

  3. I don’t disagree with that statement at all. But it’s hard to see a need for anything anywhere when death, disease, destruction and war are happening anywhere else. I’m just sayin, of course. Can’t ignore the minority needs completely…after all, this was $2.8m of $500m allocated for this category in the stimulus.

    I’ve got no dog in this race…other than the fact that I want our government to efficiently spend our tax dollars as best as possible (hah). I’m just trying to look at it from a little different perspective.

  4. Why do we have to choose between fighting wildfires and saving long neglected innercity communities from life-threatening environmental degradation? Aren’t we a big enough country to do both?

    The grant category that Parks & People applied for, urban and community forest health, made no mention of firefighting. Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of DC residents have volunteered to reclaim their parks from drugs, dumping, and violence and turn them into positive places for environmental renewal, public health, safety, and community. Now there is a chance to use the urgently needed reclamation of forgotten parks, green spaces, and watersheds to advance job training and workforce expansion in places of soaring unemployment. Wasn’t this exactly what the stimulus was supposed to help communities do?

  5. Why do we have to choose? On the one hand, because resources are scarce, and on the other, because politicians can get mileage out of the choices made.

    Republicans and their media mouthpieces so love to deprecate all things D.C. The combination of the Washington Times and the U.S. Senate’s power of the minority is a mighty tool for demagoguery.