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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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The 46,190-acre Wood Hollow Fire in Sanpete County is the largest burning in Utah. As of Thursday, it was just 20 percent contained. Authorities believe it was sparked on Saturday by a short-circuited Rocky Mountain Power utility pole compromised by copper thieves. Courtesy Darlene Mortensen
Don't burn Utah. Do build schools.

- Preventing fires: Responsibility rests on Utahns - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

There are things we have a right to do that we simply should not do when the time isn’t right. Cyclists have a right to take up an entire lane of an uphill road. Obese people have a right to wear tube tops.

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And Utahns have a right to shoot their guns at targets in the middle of a tinder-dry field of grass on a 100-degree, windy day, or launch fireworks in a neighborhood regardless of the fire danger. But smart Utahns won’t. ...

... A state law, passed by a gun-loving Legislature, prevents any state agency from limiting the use of firearms, which have already caused at least 20 wildfires so far, including one that threatened homes in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain and forced thousands to evacuate. Gov. Gary Herbert has no plan to limit target shooting to approved, supervised, ideally indoor ranges. [Or maybe he does.]

So everyone who legally owns a gun has the right to endanger the lives and property of their neighbors. We hope they will act responsibly, but the evidence of human carelessness is growing. ...

- City governments should sear fire restrictions into the public conscience - Deseret News Editorial

... this nerve-jangling summer of combustibility is far from over, and the sad reality is, barring any miraculous change of course, there will be more fires accidentally triggered by people who should know better. ...

- A Call for Caution and Common Sense in Dry Fire Season - Gov. Gary Herbert

- Fireworks Restrictions by Local Communities - Utah State Fire Marshall

- Utah firefighters, resources stretched, battle new blazes - Salt Lake Tribune

- Tough questions as Colorado homes burn - Denver Post Editorial

- Past fires offer hope, lessons - Fort Collins Coloradoan Editorial

- Forest firefighters need protection -Loveland (Colo.) Reporter-Herald Editorial (via Colorado Springs Gazette)

As firefighters enter their third week fighting the High Park fire and the Waldo Canyon fire continues to burn in our own front yard, it may come as a surprise that many federal wildland firefighters do not qualify for federal health insurance. ...


- Bonding for schools: Voters made right choice - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Utahns don’t just pay lip service to the value of public education. They consistently show their commitment to their local neighborhood schools. They volunteer. Parents get involved in PTA and other organizations. And they go even further, most often approving district borrowing to maintain education quality.

Voters in the Murray and Weber school districts are the latest to support going into debt to improve their children’s schools. The two bond issues approved Tuesday are needed to meet the demands of growth and improve safety at schools in the two districts. ...

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