I am very alarmed that CAL FIRE could take over our fire services. CAL FIRE, which used to be called CDF (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is still the official name], is responsible for the huge Cedar Fire in San Diego [which occurred in October 2003].

When the idiot hiker lit a flare because he was lost, a small fire started. A helicopter was in the air and asked permission to put it out. CDF denied permission because nightfall was in two hours and the “let it burn” policy. They were ignorant of the fact that the fire was in grass and high winds were predicted. The helicopter watched in horror and asked again, but was denied.

I will never forget my family member living in Julian calling me and alarmed because the aircraft were downed. Meanwhile, I watched on TV the aircraft fight the San Bernardino fire for an hour after CDF downed all planes in San Diego — memorable because the palm trees were cherry bombs when aflame in San Bernardino.

The Cedar Fire destroyed my sister’s large home in Alpine. For one week the footage of a photographer in a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter was available online. It showed how one helicopter attempted to fight five canyon fires in Alpine.

Of course, the photographer didn’t have CHP permission to film and the footage was removed. To our knowledge there was no dismissal of the CDF supervisor in San Diego county.

No, I don’t want to lose the Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) and I put my vote in for the increase [Measure G]. Why put all our eggs in one basket? San Diego shows it doesn’t work, as they didn’t have a county fire department.

If we have a major fire, IFPD would be there and CAL FIRE would back them up. CDF has a history of a 45-minute response time to a fire in this state. Not to mention, they have started many fires with their “controlled burns” during high winds.

CAL FIRE is at the political mercy of our state politicians and their firefighters gave the following complaints after the Cedar Fire: CDF was willing to sacrifice the homes in Julian in order to “save” the downtown and ignored county homes burning while they had 150 rigs sitting by protecting Viejas casino.

Save IFPD because they will save your home.

Merrie VonSeggern