Bushcraft Martial Law

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by racetrack, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. racetrack

    racetrack Supporter Supporter

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    The worsening drought in the southwest has prompted progressively stringent restrictions. All well and good as far as that goes, up to a point. The San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado has recently enacted stage 3 fire restrictions. This is the absolute closure of the 1.8 million acres to all activity.

    https://durangoherald.com/articles/...nal-forest-city-of-durango-open-spaces-closed

    Not to be outdone, the county has banned activities including the discharge of firearms on private property unless in self defense.

    In the case of the forest service, it is not hazardous or reckless behavior that is prohibited, it is the simple offense of being present. They wont allow you to be there at all. Mandatory appearance in federal court and $5000 fine for walking down the road, fishing the creek, etc.

    I am not advocating reckless behavior. No one would in these conditions. I do question the assumption that "the greater good" can be used to criminalize normal activity on public and private land. This being done with the assumption that all activities are equally dangerous and deserve equal punishment. If you walk your dog down the trail you are guilty. Shoot at a coyote on your own property, here come the authorities. All are equally criminal for "the greater good".
     
  2. Red Wing

    Red Wing Guide

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    The Kings forest, the Kings deer.
     
  3. Jim L.

    Jim L. Supporter Supporter

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    Easements are for the "greater good", or my favorite "eminent domain". The only reason people are put in jail for taking hard earned things from others is because the government is eliminating the competition.
     
  4. x39

    x39 Bushmaster

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    It seems all rules these days are predicated on the lowest common denominator.
     
  5. Lode

    Lode hull down Supporter

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    Interesting approach.

    I'm not a fan but it seems that is necessary in this day and age. People do what the want, especially when no one is watching. The dangers, in this situation, seem to be severe and perilous.

    What we really need now for this particular situation is a group of self regulated idiots that go out and patrol those areas and breaks regs while doing so, without any formal permission, in the name of to keeping it safe from others that might do it harm!
     
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  6. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I can see both sides...sort of.
    I can understand wanting to protect the land but how far does it really have to go?
     
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  7. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Here's the real issue: Rules are always made with the dumbest/worst/most irresponsible people in mind. It's necessary, but it has some collateral damage and is pretty annoying/inconvenient for responsible people.

    For instance, the entire (1.6 million acre) Santa Fe National forest was closed on June 1. "Fire hazards" were the reason. During the last weekend of May, rangers found 83 unattended campfires despite the fact that there were stage 2 fire restrictions in place. I drove 1500 miles to New Mexico to do some backpacking in the Santa Fe NF, and got there on (you guessed it) June 1st. I wasn't allowed to hike in the forest at all. We had to completely change our plans. Presumably, the reason for complete closure is that many people were just disregarding the fire restrictions. We ended up doing some backpacking in the Carson NF instead. There were stage 2 fire restrictions in the Carson NF as well, but we saw several idiots burning campfires anyways, despite the plentiful signs declaring bans and announcing extreme fire hazards. Everyone thinks they are the exception to the rule. Imagine my frustration after driving all the way across the country and finding that I couldn't hike any of the trails that I drove 1500 to hike because some dimwits were ignoring rules that were in place to keep people safe.

    These closures seem unfair to people like me that are responsible rule-followers. However, there is no good way to keep the stupid people from doing stupid things without also affecting the rest of us. The most we can do is follow the rules and encourage others to do the same.
     
  8. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Tracker

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  9. Haggis

    Haggis Guide

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    It's fairly normal to be critical of laws and commandments that affect us personally, and fairly normal to be critical of those who break laws and commandments that don't affect us personally. Still though, it's pretty rough to not even be allowed to go fishing...
     
  10. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Can't disagree with any of that.
     
  11. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    One additional comment:

    The fire bans very much do affect me personally. I don't like being restricted in that way. Fires are my preferred form of cooking, warmth, and entertainment. They are a central part of my camping experience and I hate when the option is taken away. However, I realize that fire bans are in place to mitigate risk and keep people safe. For those reasons, I always heed them. It's frustrating when others do not heed them and additional restrictions get heaped on as a consequence. However, I am pretty understanding of many of these administrative decisions to enact bans and restrictions.
     
  12. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Tracker

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    Yeah, this is an exceptional situation in that area. In addition to fire risk, I think the need for immediate access on the few roads must be a consideration too. Fire crews can't inch along behind some doofus who pulled his travel trailer too far up Hermosa Creek, Junction Creek, etc, and can't find a place to turn around...
     
  13. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    Yes, because gods forbid that they punish the ones who break the fire ban rather than punishing everyone for the actions of a few.

    As for the county restrictions on private property? They can pound sand.
     
  14. hdlv

    hdlv Treen Machine Supporter

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    It sucks but I get it. In extreme drought conditions and with even a slight wind fires can get way out of control... and fast.
    Someone having a responsibility maintained fire has no way to capture tiny embers, one of those can float right out of site before igniting on the ground. Then you have people like the guys that went to the woods to burn some trash and lit up half the smokies and a nice chunk of Gatlinburg, or the kids shooting bottle rockets that started the 48,000 acre fire in Oregon. After watching the deviation caused by fires on the west coast (northern California 245,000 acres burnt) I'd say good, close the park, reduce the risk of a major fire... which still might happen by a well placed lightning bolt.
     
  15. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    Then punish those who are violating the fire ban not the person who is just out hiking.
     
  16. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That's just the way society works sometimes (unless you are in anarchy). A certain sub-population can ruin things for the rest of us. Not saying I like it, but I am learning to accept it.

    In the words of an anonymous genius, "This is why we can't have nice things."
     
  17. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It's not that easy. Yes, rangers found 83 unattended campfires in the Santa Fe forest on memorial day weekend. However, catching the people who were responsible for lighting those fires is a nearly impossible feat. The forest service tried to be very reasonable for a while, but had to resort to more extreme measures when drought conditions worsened and rules were continually ignored.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  18. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Just a different perspective. There has been mujahadin chatter for some years about starting fires in wilderness areas as acts of jihad. Several fire outbreaks in Europe seemed very suspicious in the last few years. I no longer get the background info I once did, but I interpret events with some cynicism. If the NP/NF authorities believe such threats are currently real, then given the extreme conditions a complete ban on people in the area might seem a prudent and non discriminatory response, and it eliminates any profiling or racism accusations.
     
  19. Sargent

    Sargent Bushwhacker Vendor

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    Californias' largest modern fire to date was caused by a downed power line. Under investigation ... don't ask Southern California Edison how many they started. They aren't talking. :)
     
  20. racetrack

    racetrack Supporter Supporter

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    To be clear, conditions here are awful. The talking heads have run out of words to describe it. Intentionally or recklessly starting a fire should be a hanging offense, literally. but the only person to be hanged ought to be the offender , after due process. Penalizing everyone because they mighta/coulda, is not the same. As to the restrictions on shooting on private property, that was an easy sale in county politics here. Low hanging fruit as it were.
     
  21. ChawnC

    ChawnC Supporter Supporter

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    Not sure why the instinctive reaction isn’t “screw the law”. If it’s a dumb law, an overreaching law, or an unlawful law, it shouldn’t be obeyed.
    Yeah, if you screw up and cause a major fire, they’ll find you. You’ll pay hard.
    But good luck to the gov’t when it comes to treating all citizens like sheep.
     
  22. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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    I sure hope this isn't true, but have long realized how vulnerable natural areas are to people that would want to do damage. I'm not going to make a list, but you can make yourself sick thinking about how many different ways nefarious groups could easily cause ecological destruction if they get tired of blowing up innocent people. :(
     
  23. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Just my .02:
    If there is a fire ban I don't camp, fish, picnic.
    I may not START the fire and the person/persons who do may not be caught but I don't want to be caught in the fire someone else started.
     
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  24. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You realize that all 3 of your qualifiers are subjective, right? What you are essentially saying is that if your opinion causes you to disagree with the established law, then "screw the law". I don't like that one bit. Just want to go on record saying that.

    This is the problem I was referencing earlier. Everyone thinks their personal opinion is the supreme metric for correct behavior. Even if you don't like the rules, it doesn't give you the right to disregard them.
     
  25. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Another great point that I have considered from time to time.
     
  26. diamondm

    diamondm Supporter Supporter

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    This is the fire that is prompting all the closures.







    The town of Durango has closed all open spaces - dog parks, hiking trails... as well as county wide closures and restrictions and San Juan National forest service closures. How do you monitor, regulate and enforce such a wide span of area? Given their limited resources they can only selectively enforce this. It could be as simple a decision as who you are or where you are rather than dealing with the TRUE violators of hazardous/reckless behavior.

    On a side note - The firefighters are doing an AMAZING job of structure protection and fighting this huge fire which is about to join a second one..
     
  27. wallflash

    wallflash Scout

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    If the county fines you for violating the rules regarding banned activities on private property, who are you going to tell to pound sand when they hand you the ticket for the fine?
     
  28. LazyPK

    LazyPK Supporter Supporter

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    Wait so you’re telling me that terrorists started these fires and not some dummy flicking a cigarette butt or leaving a fire going?
     
  29. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    Prove it was me doing the shooting.

    Burn it.

    Unless I have actually caused harm to someone else or their property, they can pound sand.

    "...May the chains rest lightly..."

     
  30. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    Agreed! America as we know it today was basically founded on that principle! People got tired of a govt that didn't represent them or their needs so they stood up for change and founded a new nation.

    I totally see where you're coming from but there comes a point (this fire ban/being in the woods ban is not rebellion worthy, I'm not suggesting breaking the law on this one) when it is a persons duty to disregard the rules. We are all woodsmen here, the wild places are the ONLY places we can be who we truly are. When someone or some group of people come along and start chipping away at who you are as a person, criminalizing your actions and existence, it's hard not to get upset about. Restrictions on movement are only going to get worse as time and "progress" relentlessly march on. I'm really thankful my great grandparents and grandparents didn't harbor the mindset of following all laws no matter what to the T. If they did, I would literally be living in squalor with no culture left :dblthumb:.
     
  31. ChawnC

    ChawnC Supporter Supporter

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    Yep. I certainly do realize they’re subjective qualifiers. I also realize that flipping my bottom over to the “grace of government” and it’s ill outcome is quite objective.
     
  32. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm sure the Snake Plissken attitude will really intimidate them.

    Maybe I'm too simple, but I generally just follow the laws and take responsibility if I mistakenly violate them.
     
  33. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    WE, The People, need to take this country back.
     
  34. wallflash

    wallflash Scout

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    The question was who are you going to respond this way to? The deputy sheriff handing you the ticket, and risk escalating a civil fine into a misdemeanor crime, and possibly one that gets your right to own guns taken away ? The judge, when you are in his chambers telling him you will do as you please on your own land? The cop arresting you for not paying the fine ?
     
  35. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Well-written response.

    I don't know anyone who would actually promote "following all laws no mater what to the T." We all realize that there is a line in the sand, but we all have a different idea of where it's drawn. For me, the law would have to be causing me to do something immoral before I would consider violating it. I'm principally opposed to violating the law in response to inconvenience and/or annoyance (which is the basis for the discussion we are having).
     
  36. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    From who? Smokey the Bear? We are talking about temporary precautions to avoid death and destruction by wildfires. These are normal, reasonable (and remember, temporary) regulations for public safety.
     
  37. Riverpirate

    Riverpirate Supporter Supporter

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    From the government.
     
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  38. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting! Supporter

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    Please sit on your hands indian style on the rug, keep your mouth shut and your eyes forward, no loud breathing, no gum, no going to the bathroom. If I have to tell any of you kids just one time you will be permanently expelled with no warning, justification, or meeting to defend yourself.

    BAD KID!
     
  39. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    I make/made no allegations to being some tough guy as you insinuate in your thinly veiled slight. I'm simply old enough that if I am not harming anyone or their property and (especially) if I'm on my own property then I just don't give a rip what some bureaucrat says.

    As for blindly following "laws" yeah, not going to happen. I am very much a follower of Heinlein's sage remarks on the matter...

    "I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
    - Robert A. Heinlein

     
  40. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting! Supporter

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    They aren't precautions. Restricting fire and trailer chains would be "reasonable regulations", the rest is called control of people without justification.
     
  41. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    :18:
     
  42. Self Reliantist

    Self Reliantist Scout

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    So, symptoms are being treated w/temporary(?) restrictions upon citizens personal freedoms. This is neither the first, nor the last time the greater society has been hamstrung to prevent the LCDs amongst from burning it to the ground.
    The most effective treatment for cure of injury or diseases is to treat the causative agent. In the spirit of actually seeking remedy, discussion is needed to interfere w/the types of human behavior that exacerbates these symptoms, thus reducing the odds of natural or human induced events from tipping the status quo over the brink.
    My feelings are we have been blessed w/a highly developed neural network that has granted the ability to (to certain extents) manipulate our ecologies to make us more comfortable.
    Communication and team work are catalysts for change.
    In this instance it would seem arguing politics works against the greater good.
    Pour a cupa, or, a glassa, or, in certain environs lighta, and talk amongst ourselves.
    “The hour’s getting late!”
    ~Bob Dylan~
    ‘All Along the Watchtower’

    Norm
     
  43. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    As an aside, I really wish that there was a way we could choose to undergo training and obtain a license that allowed us to do things--like build a campfire--in the outdoors when others aren't allowed to. Call it a "Master outdoorsman" program or something. Be able to show that you are trusted with skills and common sense to cook with fire safely during burn bans (if it can be done at all), etc. If a state government can allow people to take a course and prove proficiency with firearms and then carry a weapon (Handgun licensees, security guards, cops), surely the local fish and game folks could allow some of us to show that we are more trustworthy than the guy who throws diesel on sticks to start a fire and then leaves it unattended...or that we could be trusted to hike and fish in an area closed to others due to fears of what the least skilled person would do.
    Just thinking.


    Edited to add: I'd like to respectfully remind my fellow forum members that talking about breaking the law can get the thread closed and even get us banned from the forum...not to mention that comments made here could conceivably be used against the poster in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  44. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Good constructive thoughts and excellent contribution to the discussion. I like it.
     
  45. longcruise

    longcruise Tracker

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    The cost to fight this fire will probably not equal the revenue lost to Durango and la plata county from loss of recreation and tourism.

    I consider this absolute closure to be heavy handed and an overreaction to the actual threat. We go through this every year in various parts of Colorado and never before has an NF administrator enacted a ban on entry to the forest.

    I have camped in some very popular areas of NF during fire bans when there were literally hundreds of others doing dispersed camping and I've never seen a violation of the fire ban.

    This fire was started by one of the primary tourist attractions in Durango. The train that runs up the valley to Silverton.
     
  46. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    Thank you sir.
     
  47. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    So... convert still more rights into privileges to be begged and charged for? :26:

     
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  48. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    Great points and also well-written! Especially the mention of being opposed to violating laws in response to inconvenience/annoyance. I agree totally! I didn't think of it that way initially but it really does come down to that, thanks for putting that perspective out there. It's a tricky topic really with everything being so subjective. What some folks see as a mere inconvenience or annoyance could be a life altering, detrimental event to others.

    Everyone involved in the process of trying to extract resources (money) from me. I would opt for jail time in lieu of paying a fine I thought was unjust or unwarranted.
     
  49. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic Supporter

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    That's great! Focus on the things you can do and places that are open, rather than what you can't do.

    I read the rest of the thread, and I didn't see this mentioned, but a major problem with that is it can result in a million acre fire. Punishing after the fact doesn't prevent the destruction, and often it doesn't remediate it. I'm not arguing for or against the current closure, but what officials may be thinking is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    I'm torn on this. On one hand, I already have half a dozen licenses from the government allowing me to do various things. On the other hand, I really don't like the idea of MORE regulation. On the one hand, I like the idea of being allowed to make a fire in areas I often play in, but on the other the idea of regulating who can and can't make a fire seems ludicrous. On the one hand, I like the idea that certain people would need to get training before doing something potentially dangerous and destructive... but on the other hand, I wouldn't want to be regulated...
     
    rsnurkle, Quinlan, Gumbi and 4 others like this.
  50. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Admittedly, the sarcasm part of my brain is active this afternoon. There seemed to be a tough guy tone there for a minute, and that classic image of Kurt Russell with an eye patch and a mullet popped into my head. I didn't mean any ill by it.

    I think the point here is that the risk of fire is so high that some simple short-term restrictions can help keep people safe. I understand it may be annoying or inconvenient. It was certainly annoying and inconvenient when it caused my to completely ditch my backpacking plans that had been in the making for almost 10 years. But when I step back and get a good look at this issue from a larger perspective, it's not a huge deal to help keep people and forests safe.

    They certainly seem like precautions. I've seen what wildfires can do. I live near the areas that were ravaged by the Gatlinburg fires two years ago. The damage was severe, and the fire didn't stop at the edge of the forest. It swept through the town and destroyed homes and businesses. 14 people died and almost 200 were injured.

    Why would the local government be asking people in high-risk areas to temporarily refrain from activities that cause sparks and avoid the areas with the highest probability of fire? Probably for the safety of the public? I'd say so. This doesn't appear to be an issue of control without justification. They aren't controlling very much, and they are giving several justifications.
     

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