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Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Firefighting cuts: How much training do inmates need?

It shouldn’t be hard to pick up a shovel and fight fires

Regarding your article [“Fewer inmates to fight fires due to budget,” NWMonday, June 29] that because of legislative budget cuts the Department of Natural Resources will have fewer inmate work crews trained to fight fires this year: What a bunch of bureaucratic bologna this is!

Just how much training do the inmates need to wrap their hands around a shovel, rake or mattock? I don’t propose placing these folks in any sort of danger where a trained firefighter should be doing the work, but there is plenty of behind the scenes tasks they could do. My wife recalls the times when, while driving in the West during the summer months, you could be taken out of your automobile and enlisted to fight fires.

What kind of training did those folks get? This is the kind of nonsense that has gotten this state in the budget nightmare in which we are all suffering.

— John Earhart, Seattle

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