The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that due to safety concerns much of the current mandatory evacuation areas of the fire destroyed forest could remain closed for some time. There is no time line in place for citizens to return to their fire damaged property. This is of concern considering the fact that the vast majority of the Waldo Canyon Fire area is still inaccessible (Pike National Forest Order PSICC-2013-01) nearly a year after that fire scorched our local National forest. Knowing this, there is serious concerns as to government’s role with individual and private property rights.
Unlike the Waldo Canyon Fire where the vast majority of the fire burned public lands, the Black Forest Fire has wreaked its fury upon the land of mostly private property owners. I’m shocked at the lack of our government’s understanding and respect to the private property owners and their rights. The majority of the people who live in the Black Forest possess the quality of rugged individualism that is representative of the West, our western heritage and culture. These people, like many Americans, understand clearly their natural rights to life, liberty and property.
It is apparent that the government’s concern for public safety is real, but at what cost? The Gazette reports that roads need to be repaired and power restored, and that’s reasonable. The other areas of safety concerns and how they are handled should be left to the property owners to decide for themselves versus waiting for the County to grant them permission to access their lands. What fees or costs will be imposed on these property owners as they seek access to their lands?
One reason the Waldo Canyon Fire area is still closed to public access is the fact that weakened trees may fall on people. Another reason is the fear of litigation from our litigiously open society. With that said, how long will it be before our government allows the residents to safely return to their land? When will these property owners be able to access their property with full impunity?
Why can’t Black Forest property owners return to their land, view their property and decide to remain or not. If they remain, let them do so by releasing the government of their perceived responsibility for the safety of the property owners. These rugged individuals who have lost everything deserve the respect of their natural rights and know quite well what path they will take from here. It is up to those private property owners to decide what is best for them. Let’s respect their unalienable rights to their life, liberty and property.
It is now time for the government to respect the property rights of those greatly affected by this fire. Full access should be granted as quickly as possible. Who in our local government will be brave enough to take the stand and be the voice reaching out to help ensure that individual and private property rights are respected and guaranteed in El Paso County?
Liberty First will do all it can to advocate for and to keep the light of liberty shining bright across our land. We will defend the rights of all including the private property rights of the Black Forest community.