Contrary to Ed Kupillas' guest opinion and name-calling, some "anti-salvage arguments" are relevant. (See his Sunday, Aug. 24 guest opinion at www.mailtribune.com in the archive section under "Opinion Archive.")

The relevant timber salvage blowdown arguments are the ones which center on "management activities," which make trees more vulnerable to the force of wind. — Fred Fleetwood, Trail

Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology wishes to express our sincere sorrow for the victims of the June 19 helicopter crash. It is a shame that our statements of sympathy for the families, friends and coworkers of the fallen firefighters were edited out of the Mail Tribune's Aug. 14 article quoting us. This unfortunate omission was further compounded by the Aug. 17 editorial accusing FUSEE of making "political statements" about the tragedy, and stating several false assumptions about our organization.

Let us set the record straight: FUSEE is not an "environmental" group; we are a firefighter's advocacy group that believes that firefighter safety is ultimately dependent on ethical land management and ecological restoration. We do not "advocate let-it-burn policies"; we believe that every wildfire should be actively managed to maximize the social and ecological benefits of fire, and minimize the firefighter risks, taxpayer costs, and resource damage caused by over-aggressively "fighting" fires.

When government policies needlessly put firefighters at extra risk we are morally compelled to stand up and speak out for changes needed to prevent future tragedies. In that respect, we agree with a famous labor organizer's words: "mourn the dead, but fight like hell for the living!" — Timothy Ingalsbee, Ph.D., executive director, FUSEE: Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, Eugene

Sen. Gordon Smith has declined to take a stand on the proposed Health and Human Services rule. This rule would redefine some forms of birth control as abortion. It would also limit the ability of health clinics to offer choices and services to low-income women.

Sen. Ron Wyden has signed a letter asking Secretary Leavitt to drop the proposed policy change. We now need to know where Mr. Smith stands. As more and more Oregonians are losing health insurance, will Senator Smith stand up for women's health and ability to access birth control? — Erin Keller, Ashland

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