More on “politically correct fire stories”by Hugh Holub on Jun. 21, 2011, under border issues, politics
Beside the real wildfires ravaging the borderlands, we have another firestorm of controversy over whether or not illegal aliens or drug smugglers started some of these fires…especially the Murphy Fire west of Tubac and the Horseshoe 2 Fire in the Chiricahuas.
Senator John McCain noted that some of the fires were probably set by illegal aliens or drug smugglers.
He was immediately attacked for linking the fires to illegals or drug smugglers.
From the Arizona Republic June 21, 2011:
Jun. 21, 2011 06:07 AM
WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain says he’s “puzzled” that there’s a controversy surrounding remarks he made suggesting illegal immigrants were responsible for some of the massive wildfire in eastern Arizona.
McCain tells NBC’s “Today” show all he was doing was repeating information he’d been given by federal officials at a briefing that occurred before he appeared at a news conference last weekend.
McCain said in an interview Tuesday, “We all know that people who come across our border illegally … that these fires are sometimes, some of them, caused by this.” He said “I’m puzzled . . . that there should be any controversy.”
McCain earlier had said that illegal immigrants “have set fires because they wanted to signal others … and they have set fires because they wanted to divert law enforcement agents.”
…“I still am not clear what this is all about except for activists who somehow want everybody to believe that our border is secured, which it is not,” he added on Fox News Tuesday morning.
After touring the Wallow Fire — which has scorched more than 500,000 acres since late May — McCain said he responded to a question over the weekend about the number of fires in Arizona this year by saying, “There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally.”
One way to guard against future fires, he said at a Saturday press conference, “is to get a secure border.”
Obviously some people are deeply offended that it could be suggested that poor working people illegally crossing our border just might deliberately or accidentally start wildfires.
But let us consider the Murphy Fire west of Tubac.
There were actually two fires both started on known smuggling trails far from roads and at a time when the only people out in that countryside are either illegal immigrants or drug smuggling mule trains.
There had been several other fires in the border area already this year…all of which are suspected to have been started by folks who had no legal business being where the fires started.
What is really interesting is the on the record and off the reord comments borderlands people get from both the Border Patrol and the Forest Service. On the record we have human caused fires under investigation.
Off the record it is pretty obvious what is going on.
Border residents are not the only people here who strongly suspect illegal aliens or drug smugglers are causing the fires around here. Many feds do as well. McCain apparently relied on information he was given by a Forest Service person on the record.
But it is not “politically correct” to tie the probability of the fire starts to illegal aliens or drug smugglers in the current Administration.
I was with a staff member of a US House Committee and went out into the area along Ruby Road that was burned by the Muprhy fires.
The smuggler trails are very obvious in the wake of the fires.
One of the more amazing experiences in the look-see was the discovery of a fire circle in a nest of rocks that was covered with hundreds of spent .223 shell casings. This was on a smuggler trail in the Pajarita Wilderness area.
We wandered around the site trying to figure out what the heck would someone or group of people be doing firing of hundreds of rounds of ammo from that site. Shooting bottles off the surrounding rocks? Yes, we did find that.
But the sheer volume of the amount of ammo used was stunning.
I personally cannot imagine a hiker or tourist or anyone else sitting around a campfire blowing off hundreds of rounds of a type of ammo which is one of the more popular types of ammo the cartel uses for their guns.
We were in an area where I have taken many people…media folks and other Congressional types…to see the areas of the border that have not been secured because of conflicts with federal land managers and environmentalists.
The interesting thing is that every time one of these tours happens we do not see Border Patrol agents in the back country. Once in a while we run across one on Ruby Road.
When we were going to fire scene look-see we did have a Border Patrol agent drive by and stop. He joked that as the only BP agent out there he wasn’t really doing a very good job of deterence in securing the border.
The point, as Senator McCain has tried to make and many others have tried to make is that there are areas of our border rhat have not been secured and they are open to illegal entry and drug smuggling…and probably fire starts…and all of this must be stopped by securing the border at the border inspite of conflicting goals of federal land managers and advocates of border wilderness areas.
And just for the record, there are many reports that in the case of the Murphy Fire the Border Patrol was chasing a group of drug smugglers who deliberatly started the first fire to delay the BP from catching them. This is based on radio traffic that the BP has….whether or not they will ever release it remains to be seen though.
The top levels of federal border security institutions have lost a lot of credibility trying to claim the border is more secure than ever in the face of mounting evidence the border is not secure.
We have some serious bad guys running around our borderlands with AK 47s who..insofar as any of them have been caught…are Mexicans who were illegally in ths country.
It is not racist to point out the truth, however inconvenient this is for advocates of immigration law reform before the border is actually secured against illegal entry and drug smuggling.
Back in 2007 people were claiming illegals were starting fires
Aftermath of Murphy Fire