One of the absolute biggest acts of dropping the ball was in the whole evacuation of Mountain Shadows, starting on day one, Saturday, with the first group told to leave. Good grief! That fire was 6 miles away at that time and the expense "those in charge" cost the homeowners who had to pay a whole weekend's worth of hotel expenses is ridiculous - ESPECIALLY if the fire was not close enough to be of "evacuation level concern" for people two blocks away north of Chuckwagon!! Either is was too dangerous for lower Mountain Shadows, or safe enough they should not have been forced out. BUT THEN, on Tuesday, with fire immenent, there is STILL no mandatory evacuation for northern Mountain Shadows?!?!? Who's running this show??
Beyond that, there is the history of the former Fire Chief warning the city that there would be a fire in Queen's Canyon, and that it was not "a question of IF, but of WHEN" and the city turned a deaf ear on him. I think the city should have to own up to that ignoring of the warning as well. And don't get me started with how poorly the fire was fought from a strategic angle. Coming from a family with a history of mountain fire fighters, I will go out on a limb and say that they flat out failed to continue fighting the east side of the fire in an adequate manner until it was TOO LATE!
Pshaw, yeah there is a ga-billion "lessons learned" going on here, including how condescendingly the now "loved" Jerry woman from the Forrest Service talked down to people like they were kindergartners, but I digress. This city needed to have employed a full service PR team used to handling disasters, so that stupid moves and comments made by well meaning "leaders" didn't get made. Then maybe someone would have stopped the head of the fire, who was flown in (and surely briefed prior to taking command) from making a stupid comment like "I will tell you how far the fire is if someone will tell me where Mountain Shadows is!" REALLY??? You're in charge of the firefighting efforts? Were you not briefed. I KNOW you surely did a brief before you began talking to media! Or did you? And we wouldn't have heard insensitive things like "I'm the sherrif and I'm an evacuee too. Now, of course, my house is okay, but I know exactly how you all feel" REALLY??? You know how someone who's home burned down and has not been allowed to survey the damage feels? I highly doubt that! I will stop, but I'm serious about the error upon error upon error that came tumbling out of the mouths of those who had not been prepped in how to address the public (by a comptetent PR firm) caused them more stressed our citizenry and angrier victims than necessary. Oh, the PR was terrible!!!!
The most infuriating being that M.S. residents could hop a bus along with their grieving neighbors for a bus tour of their burned out homes.......but would not be allowed to get out: This following the fact that it was safe enough for media to go in! I think that was the final slap in the face ot residents. It's unspeakable misinformation and butt poor treatment to the citizens most affected by this fire. I write ALL of this comment as a lower M.S. resident who will be pissed off about the "ball dropping" that cost my neighbors everything for a very long time to come.
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