Numerous hydrants were red tagged by fire crews during the fire. One red tag on Saunders Meadow was even labeled “Broken stem puts out 5gpm.”

Red tags are bad regardless of the reasons tagged. These are old Mueller hydrants. Most every hydrant found on these service lines are painted orange. By definition, that means marginal hydrant flow for a house fire, let alone a wildland burn-over.

Idyllwild Water District says there are no hydrant maintenance records. Does that mean there is no documented hydrant maintenance?

The Deerfoot crews had to pull back. These crews were brave. That’s why I am offended that when questioned, IWD employees said fire crews broke the red-tagged hydrants; a lot of them. Old hydrants, marginal flows and serious questions about hydrant maintenance fall squarely upon IWD management and board ignorance.

Two hydrant surveys were conducted on Nov. 10, 2006, and July 29, 2015. The hydrant found at Deerfoot/DoubleView was part of the 2006 survey but excluded from the 2015 survey.

It was red-tagged at this fire with an IWD out-of-service cover on it in addition to the red tag painted on it. Why was this strategic Deerfoot hydrant excluded from the 2015 survey? Was it broken? Did it stay broken until this fire and red tagged?

Much of the exact 2006 survey data in IWD appears on the 2015 survey a highly suspect coincidence.

There are major questions and lots of excuses, some of them by IWD customers. Why would an IWD customer allow an orange label or red-tagged hydrant connected to a marginal line service their home? Talk is cheap but IWD has $5,000,000 doing nothing.

Bottom line, the IWD board has been in office for a while. They ignored substandard lines and hydrants, poisonous water quality and costly litigation.

IWD is a pig. They distract and blame others for the tidiness of their pen. They claim they can change the future.

I have news for them. The future started when they took office and disappointed mountain residents. Send a message. The chickens are coming home to roost. Demand their resignations.

Jeff Smith

Pine Cove