The New Mexican has called on the community to “prepare now for Santa Fe fires that may come” in an editorial May 11. This timely advice focused on escaping a fire. During the immediate fire season, that is about all that can be done. It is not nearly enough. The Santa Fe Fire Department is well aware of the threat. The department has undertaken programs to reduce the risk, to assist homeowners, and to equip and train to fight a fire. Yet, for lack of adequate support, these are not sufficient.

In 2006, the department commissioned a Wildland Urban Interface-Wildland Fire Hazard and Risk Analysis. Prepared by consulting firm Anchor Point Fire Management, the study assesses the threat throughout the city and proposes measures to mitigate the threat and protect residents. Some of these measures can be implemented by individual property owners. Some — such as fuel reduction along the borders — require collective action. The city should update the study and devise and implement a plan to protect Santa Fe. We cannot wait until a wildfire is at our borders. And we cannot simply hope that a fire will never come. We must act. And we may now have a unique opportunity. The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act will soon deliver $38 million to New Mexico for wildfire mitigation.

Nick Knorr

Santa Fe

Appropriate care

In a recent letter to the editor (“Care for all,” May 10),

Nancy King questions whether women will receive appropriate care and treatment at Christus St. Vincent, the first and oldest hospital in New Mexico. We are a private, nonprofit health care system with a 157-year history of providing care to the people of our community. Our mission is to serve all people who present for care, and we continue to serve the needs of Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico patients from birth through the end of life. We always will provide the clinically indicated services necessary to protect the life of the mother, and we will always support our clinicians in addressing the health care needs of our female patients. This would include care and treatment following a miscarriage. The religious directives state that operations, treatments and medications that will directly address a pathological condition of a pregnant woman will always be provided. Christus St. Vincent provides full obstetric and gynecological care, ensuring that the mother’s well-being is priority.

Kathy Armijo Etre, Ph.D.

vice president of mission

Christus St. Vincent

Fight climate change

It’s easy to blame a single person for making a bad judgment (conducting a controlled burn in the spring). However, that person did not cause all of the other fires in New Mexico and across the Southwest. That person did not cause the record wind, drought and ever-higher temperatures. Even more, that person did not cause the continuous tornadoes and flooding across the Midwest and South.

All of these weather disasters have their origins in global climate change. Even though they get worse every year, some politicians running for governor insist it isn’t happening. How can either of these candidates provide solutions when they won’t even admit the problem exists? Don’t they smell the smoke? Don’t they believe people are being made homeless, that people have died? I urge all voters consider climate change in the upcoming election. This isn’t just an issue; it really is the future for your children and grandchildren.

Marc Bonem

Santa Fe

Mission accomplished?

Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service, I guess they will not have to do another prescribed burn in the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon area for another 500 years or so.

Glenn Conroy

Santa Fe

Noise and emissions

I wholeheartedly agree with with Sallie Bingham (“A sad sign of spring,” Letters to the Editor, May 1) about leaf blower pollution. Not only do blowers disturb peaceful walks in the woods and quiet enjoyment of people’s houses/yards (some produce more than 100 decibels of noise, similar to a plane taking off), but they also spew pollutants. One study found that in 30 minutes, leaf blowers can emit as many carcinogenic hydrocarbons as a light-duty pickup driven from New York City to Los Angeles — almost 2,800 miles. In addition, they put out significantly more smog-forming carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides than the same truck.

They also stir up dust that can contain pollen, mold, animal feces, heavy metals and chemicals from herbicides and pesticides, which is especially not great for those with allergies. For all of these reasons, over 100 cities have banned or restricted use of gas-powered leaf blowers. In fact, California last year banned all gasoline-powered lawn equipment and other machines. Luckily, powerful electric and battery-operated leaf blowers now exist, and they are quieter, greener and healthier than their gasoline-powered counterparts. In fact, my Santa Fe homeowners association requires its gardeners to use electric leaf blowers, much to the relief of residents’ ears and the surrounding environment. Hopefully, entire communities in New Mexico will do the same.

Brian Braa

Santa Fe

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