Fatal ineptitude in Colorado wildfire
The ineptitude that turned a controlled burn in a forest southwest of Denver into an uncontrolled blaze that killed three people would be comical if it werent so tragic.
Details emerging in the days after the fatalities are astonishing. When a 77-year-old man called 911 to report that fire surrounded his home, the dispatcher told him not to worry, it was a controlled burn that Forest Service crews were monitoring. Within an hour, he and his 78-year-old wife died when the fire overtook their home.
Other homeowners who called were given the same answer.
Once authorities realized an evacuation was needed, they began the reverse-911 procedure of calling affected residents – but used the wrong list of numbers.
The wave of problems began even before the controlled burn: Authorities failed to get updated weather forecasts, which would have warned them that high, swirling winds were coming. Volunteer firefighters who began responding after the fire went out of control couldnt contact state Forest Service crews because of different radio frequencies.
Colorado officials have hired an out-of-state investigator to determine independently what went wrong and who was responsible.
Detroit puts its faith in outsiders
In a groundbreaking move that calls into question the power of local governments, the Detroit City Council has agreed to hand over control of the citys troubled finances temporarily to an advisory board.
City and state officials agreed to the deal, giving local officials some appointments to the board. The city wanted to stave off a harsher measure allowed under state law: The governor appointing an outside manager as he has done for six cities and school systems.
Officials believe Detroit, facing a debt of $12 billion, could run out of money this spring.