Burning letter started Colorado fire.
June 16, 2002 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Burning letter started Colorado fire. Isn't there a better way to destroy a letter from somebody you hate? Say, shredding? What would you recommend to such dummies, to prevent them from creating statewide destruction?
posted by meep (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a little more than pissed about this, as the camp I'm involved in had to cancel some hiking trips to some of the forests affected. And this is just beyond dumb. Who the hell started the standard of burning letters? Fuckwit doesn't even begin to describe the level of stupidity of this person. ARGH.
posted by meep at 5:50 PM on June 16, 2002

Not that dumb. I can imagine why she mighta gone lax. It was also a designated campfire circle. If the circumstances are elaborated upon and the truth is different I will reconsider.

How big is the letter? How did she light it? What are the seasonal/preferred times for fires, if any? Did she really put it in the campfire ring? How? Woulda 'regular' fire have had the same effect?

The West is prone to fire and funky like that, I do not know enough of the environment, she certainly should have and thus wouldn't have lit the fire.. yet it seems a plausible action.
posted by firestorm at 6:02 PM on June 16, 2002

What are the seasonal/preferred times for fires, if any?

Its my understanding (read online somewhere) that there was a fire ban, and even further that she was responsible for checking to ensure that other people weren't making campfires.
posted by howa2396 at 6:38 PM on June 16, 2002

Bah sitting in a prison is useless. Let her work 10 hour a day replating trees, cultivating them and such stuff. Give her just enough money to survive and if she's not found at home or planting trees, toss her in a jail with bread and water till she discovers replating is better.
posted by elpapacito at 6:39 PM on June 16, 2002

Replating trees? Genius. That will make them fireproof, and we'll finally have something useful to do with all of our Franklin Mint Princess Diana Commemorative Plates. England's Rose just keeps on giving of herself, even from beyond the grave. God Bless that woman. She was truly a Saint.
posted by Optamystic at 7:43 PM on June 16, 2002

Forestry technician Terry Barton, 38, admitted starting the fire while patrolling the forest to enforce a fire ban, said assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Leone.
Barton said she started burning the letter from her estranged husband within a designated campfire ring, where fires normally would be allowed, then tried to put out the blaze.

"She attempted to suppress the fire but it grew," Leone said.

From the article. I somehow still feel sorry for her, if only because I can very clearly imagine how that must feel. Probably started with sudden panic as the fire first began to grow out of control, to the quickly following embarrassment of realizing you have just done something colossally stupid, to the absolute guilt and remorse of watching 22 homes being destroyed over the following days and knowing it was all your fault. Mix in with all of that the fear of your likely eventual discovery.

But god, if anyone should have known better, it was her.
posted by tirade at 8:58 PM on June 16, 2002

This sounds like a scapegoat. How do you burn a letter in a forest and walk away thinking it was extinguished? I can understand a camp fire, but burning a letter? Sounds like the evidence is circumstantial (they don't believe her story). Oh well.
posted by fleener at 9:34 PM on June 16, 2002

I think Johnelle Bryant started the fire and pinned it on Terry Barton to deflect attention from her shaky "I wouldn't know a terrorist if he flew a plane into me" story.
posted by BGM at 10:03 PM on June 16, 2002

If the area was THAT dry, something else - a tossed cigarette? - would have probably started it eventually. Not that she shouldn't be burned at the stake and fed to Smokey the Bear.
posted by groundhog at 6:23 AM on June 17, 2002

She really should have known better: the person who started the fire was in the woods on a fire suppression patrol. If they're sending out fire suppression patrols, it's not a good time to be starting campfires, even in nice neat stone circles.

She also tried to pin the fire on complete strangers, reporting the license plate number of a car that had, in fact, spotted the smoke and gone to take a look. That doesn't look like remorse.
posted by rosvicl at 7:01 AM on June 18, 2002

I am also a little pissed about this. I was going to be headed into this part of the world about now, although that trip never materialised. Now the place is, er, gone ;-)

And how should a guy from the UK know anything about that area? Because of this Colorado section of a walking travelogue all about that neck of the woods. You won't be seeing those trees again for some time.

Luckily, there is also Taos, NM, that I've always wanted to visit.. so I guess that'll be the vacation now instead ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 9:20 AM on June 18, 2002

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