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Fire in paradise

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POSTED September 2, 2013 12:06 a.m.

I have been watching in horrid fascination, the news coverage of the Rim Fire near Yosemite Park. As near as I can tell from the various news sources, the fire seems to have begun in the Lumsden’s Bridge area along the Tuolumne River.

My earliest outdoor memories are from that very area.

I recall learning to fish with my Dad along the Drew Ridge Trail about two miles upstream from Lumsden’s Bridge. The summer camps of several Northern California cities have been evacuated.

The massive fire has passed 310 square miles and shows little sign of stopping. The communities of Groveland, Pine Mountain Lake, Tuolumne City and others are threatened and thousands of firefighters are on the scene battling the blazes. Strike teams from fire departments all over the area have responded to the calls for help. God Bless our Firefighters.

Like me, many of you have deep roots and precious memories in the ravaged and threatened areas. I don’t know about you, but spending time in those magnificent mountains recharges my batteries and restores my soul. Millions of visitors from all over the world have flocked to the area for generations and the health of the forests and streams affects us all. Of course the recreational aspects jump to mind, with thousands of anglers, bird watchers, hikers, hunters, rafters and photographers enjoying the wilderness wonders. The mountains are also a source of water for both cities and agriculture and a source of   jobs and income for countless businesses relying on the tourist trade.

The question that comes to my mind is what can we do? Here we are down in the heart of civilization and we want to help, yet we don’t want to get in the way and hamper fire and rescue operations. What to do? Of course the big organizations like The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are always on hand at such disasters and I’m certain they could use your contributions.

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