Letters to the Editor

Fortunate to have firefighters

EDITOR: This is just a big thank you to CalFire and the Healdsburg Fire Department, who responded so speedily to what could have been a major fire incident on Mill Creek Road last Saturday (June 8) but — thanks to their quick response — turned out not to be. We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated team to call on when we need them. At the same time, incidents like this serve to remind us of what we all know but often choose not to think about — namely, that fire season in California is now year round, and we need to behave accordingly.

C. J. Date

Healdsburg

Where should homeless go in fire season?

EDITOR: Why are we allowing the safety of our residents to be at risk?

On Jan. 25 of this year I participated in the annual homeless survey and was assigned the area south of Memorial Bridge and north of Healdsburg Avenue adjacent to the river.

What I saw was appalling. Many people were sheltering in the bamboo growing along the banks. The prospect of a fire burning out of control made me feel fearful not only for those camping there but also for our community.

We all have heard about the fires in California that started in unsanctioned encampments. In 2017, the Skirball Fire, sparked by a cooking fire in a homeless camp, destroyed many homes in the nearby community, Bel Air.

For months, I and other Healdsburg residents have been urging the city to provide our shelterless residents with a safe place to live while we wait for adequate transitional and permanent supportive housing, which is still several years away. One solution is described in our three-minute video, www.NoPlaceToCallHome.org.

A few days ago, I was notified that this area is going to be “swept,” which means the unsanctioned camps will be removed. A primary concern is the risk of fire, according to the city police officer I talked with. He told me that in the past there had already been two fires in that area.

Where will these residents go? Where is it safe to camp in and around Healdsburg? Will they be asked to move again, as they were in December of last year and in January of this year?

If you support providing them with a safe place to live, please let our city councilmembers know.

Gail Jonas

Healdsburg

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