Smoke on the Water, Fire on the Hill
Four firefighters may have lost their lives last month in Washington state because of the Endangered Species Act, U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) charged yesterday. McInnis, chair of the House Resources forests subcommittee, cited unnamed sources who said that fire crews delayed helicopter water drops for three hours or more while dispatchers determined whether water could be pulled from the Chewuch River without violating the Endangered Species Act. The river contains populations of salmon, bull trout, and steelhead. But Elton Thomas, fire-management officer for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, said the delays didn’t relate to the species act, which doesn’t curtail water use in such cases.