Decades ago Oracle was an early adopter of the "Firewise" program. Many residents have pitched in doing their bit to reduce fuel loads of weeds and brush and clear defensible space around structures. The brush dump and brush burn has played a key role in these endeavors. In fact the brush dump has been so successful that it has led to abrupt closures like the one we are experiencing now. Several explanations have been offered for the closures including there's just too much brush; the weather isn't cooperating; there's a shortfall of skilled hands to safely perform the burn. Since all of these are anticapatable, together they seem to pose a management challenge. For example, recruiting and training a team to oversee safe burns could address the staff shortage issue; a quicker response when the weather is cooperating would shorten closure time; and more timely burns would deal with the overcrowding problem.
There's some talk around town to the effect that burning brush is itself an environmental pollutant. So there are some tradeoffs we may or may not want to make here. How this all adds up I don't know but what I do know is that while recent rains may damp down fire threat in the short term, when we dry out the resulting fuel loads will likely be hellacious. Maybe the Firewise Town Hall at 6 pm Thursday at the Oracle Community Center (dinner at 5 pm for $10) will shed light on these and other important matters.
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Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.