The politics of fire, and registering arsonists

There are a couple of articles in California publications that you will find interesting.

One is an OpEd by Larry Herzog on the San Diego News Network. His opinion is that instead of figuring out how to protect structures that are built in places where they are likely to be burned in a wildfire, we should not allow them to be built in those locations in the first place.

The other is an article in the LA Times. The 160,000-acre and still growing Station fire, started by an arsonist, has resurrected the effort by two congressional representatives to require convicted arsonists to register, using a national system for tracking these dirt bags. Their bill is called the Managing Arson Through Criminal History, or MATCH, act. The acronym is a little too cute, but I applaud the concept.

The arson legislation would require convicted arsonists — many of whom are repeat offenders — to report to authorities where they live, work and attend school. An arsonist would be required to register five years for one offense, 10 years for two, and for life for three or more offenses.

The measure easily cleared the House in the last Congress, but never came to a vote in the Senate. It gained new interest after Raymond Lee Oyler was sentenced to death earlier this year for setting the 2006 Esperanza fire in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains that killed five firefighters.



Thanks Dick


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