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Topic: Politics & Policy     Department: Letters

It's a perilous profession

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Wildland settings make for terrible places to get injured (HCN, 10/17/11, "The golden hour"). Unfortunately, injuries often lead to death, as time becomes the killer. Nobody is to blame for this, and changing a pretty damn good system -- that which is used by the U.S. Forest Service -- will do no good, and could possibly, as mentioned in the story, lead to greater harm. We have become a finger-pointing society, and sometimes I think it's best if we can find a way to grieve, accept our losses, and try our best to move on.

I don't want to be harsh or insensitive, as this tragedy is just that: a tragedy. But let's stop the blame game before we become a society totally void of personal responsibility and ownership. Wildland firefighting, particularly while felling trees, is a dangerous job. People die on this job every year. Does this suck? Sure. Will it ever change? No. Is there anyone to blame for this fact? No. This is a tragedy and it should have never happened, but I don't believe there is any fault to be distributed, and I don't believe changes in the current system need to be implemented.

Mike Welch
Missoula, Montana

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