Is This Freedom?

by Linda Martin

Can we have freedom while standing on territory safeguarded by killing of innocents? Aren’t we losing a part of ourselves, when we allow innocent people to be victims of our warring governments? I feel so sad whenever I hear about people suffering because of the war. Just like in World War 2 when thousands of innocent Japanese civilians were killed by US bombs, I am distressed to know that children have died in Afghanistan during this conflict. Even hearing that the ten year old son of one of the Taliban leaders was killed distressed me. I don’t care who his father was – I do not want children to be cut down before they even get a chance to live. I have a young son about that age! I guess I lost my enthusiasm for this fighting at about the time the wrongful killings began.

I was reading an article in the SF Examiner yesterday about children – about 450 of them – in an orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan. Most of the children had at least one parent, but that parent didn’t feel able to feed their child. So – there was a picture of little boys with smiling faces, eating plain rice for dinner. Is that all? Just rice? It was the only thing on their plates. It seems like the USA, land of prosperity, could do something to help those poor children return to their families with food in hand. How tragic for the people there, to be so destitute that they think their child will eat better in an institution.

What kind of freedom is this? I will never be free of the memory of these starving and dead children.

Another Arson in Happy Camp?

Fire on Indian Creek Road
This fire started on Indian Creek Road,
about 1/4 mile north of last year’s “Larry’s Fire”
Photo by RK McCall

by Linda Martin

What appears to be another human-caused fire broke out about a mile north of Larry’s Market on Indian Creek Road, and will continue to burn throughout the night.

Local firefighters, USFS, and CDF crews already weary from a day’s work at the Stanza Fire scene were called to extinguish the flames that quickly climbed the hill east of the road and spread into the hills north of Happy Camp at about 5 pm this afternoon.

A few nearby homes were evacuated, however residents are being allowed back in and no other evacuations are expected at this point. The fire is mostly contained; a fire line has been established with a few spot fires being carefully attended to.

Helicopters doused the area with water from the creek, and fire retardant was spread by air-tankers as law enforcement worked to open Indian Creek Road just before sunset.

The Stanza Fire – 100% Contained

Thanks to the combined efforts of various agencies and the work of over 1000 firefighters, our Stanza Fire is now at 100% containment.

Ronald Raley, Incident Commander of the Interagency Incident Management Team 5, and Alan Vandiver, our new District Ranger, wrote the following letter to the community:

On behalf of the incident personnel assigned to the “Stanza” fire and California Interagency Incident Management Team 5, we want to thank you for your patience and support of the firefighting efforts.

Our primary objectives are to provide for firefighter and public safety, and to manage the assigned resources in the most effective and cost efficient manner. We realize our presence here has created impacts on your community, however as our incident personnel return to their home units or new assignments, we hope you’ll remember the good things – The fire is contained and the community is safe.

Thanks again for your support!

/s Ronald Raley
/s Alan Vandiver

Memorial Service Honors Three Firefighters

Several hundred firefighters and family members of the firefighters killed in Sunday morning’s Stanza Fire accident gathered at the local elementary school’s ballpark for a memorial service at sunset. The service was done according to forest service tradition with candles replaced by glowsticks held aloft in honor of Heather DePaolo, John Self and Steven Oustad.

Heather’s brother and best-friend, Jeremey DePaolo, attended and shared words about her love for the Forest Service. He said she had two bachelors degrees and could have done anything, but chose to work on fire management and loved her Forest Service family. Also attending were her fiancé, a native Karuk, and his mother. Other family members were unable to attend, but were remembered in word, thought and prayer.

Gary Lake spoke on behalf of the Karuk Tribe, honoring the firefighters who died while trying to protect Karuk ancestral lands. He offered Karuk tribal flags as tribute to the families of the firefighters.

The Twenty Third Psalm was read, followed by the traditional lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. The American flag was raised, then lowed to half-mast. Holding glowsticks aloft, there was a moment of silence followed by the procession of the bereaved to place their glowsticks at the foot of the flagpole.

Tragic Accident at the Stanza Fire

Stanza Fire Map

Our condolences to family and friends of the three firefighters killed while working on the Stanza Fire Sunday morning. The fire, ten miles south of Happy Camp, has been burning out of control for nearly a week in an area near Sulphur Springs. It has grown to over 1300 acres due to the difficulty of fighting it in steep, rough terrain.

The accident occurred at about 1:30 Sunday morning when a Forest Service water tender rolled off the road and down a steep 800′ embankment. There were two survivors, both from Northern California.

Those killed were John Self, 19, of Susanville; Heather DePaolo, 29, of Redding, and Steven Oustad, 51, of Westwood.

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