Public Eye 

There's something deeply unsettling about people who waste no time cashing in on disaster. No sooner did Colorado go up in smoke this week then some outfit out of California sent out a press release "announcing" the launch of what it claims is a fire resistant shelter to store valuables in should a devastating wildfire creep up on your house.

The timing was no coincidence. The company, called Desertships and based in Antelope Valley, Calif., stated right up front that they were taking the opportunity to sell their fireproof sheds due to the onset of a heavy fire season, sparked by the huge wildfire near Denver. The storage sheds, called Earthshelters, are priced at $5,000 to $10,000 each and are made of soil cement and steel.

"By the looks of things this early in the season, we're in for a sizzlin' hot summer," said the company owner, a guy by the name of Cowboy Jack, in his press release. "I want folks to have a place to protect their valuables in the event of a fire emergency."

And, no doubt, an opportunity to make some money off the fears and backs of victims.

Bad form, Cowboy Jack.

Meanwhile, at least 10 fires are burning throughout Colorado. More than 250,000 acres have burned since the end of April. Thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes this week. At press time the Hayman Fire had consumed 88,000 acres and flames were again shooting 100 feet in the air.

With July 4 fast approaching, all of us (except possibly Cowboy Jack) must rise to the occasion. No fireworks -- per an Executive Order by Gov. Bill Owens banning all open burning and the sale and use of fireworks -- means no fireworks. Period. No smoking outside means no smoking outside. Period.

And, as long as there are bans on campfires, that means no campfires. Period. If you need alternative suggestions on nonflammable things to do this summer, check out our 101 Summer Things issue, published June 6 and available online at


-- degette@csindy.com

  • Cara DeGette on cashing in on a disaster


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