A suicide due to bad policy?
There is an old saying regarding forest fires: "The government puts out fires by throwing money at them until it rains". Having some experience and qualification in this field, it is a truth beyond absurdity. It is, essentially, a welfare program for civil service firefighters, contractors and property owners. Blame is always fixed on the person who started it, whether one exists or not, rather than official policy of allowing building in fire prone vegetation then spending millions defending the property of the stupid. And now the man whom blame was fixed upon for the Ham Lake Fire has committed suicide. And still, except in a few academic circles or in grumbles amongst certain government employees, no one will ask ask questions, and certain forums will affix blame on this man. The Ham Lake fire cost 11 million dollars, and like most fires, the weather actually put it out. The usual term used was tragedy, and blame needed to be affixed somewhere, and finally someone.
Fundamentally, however, there is a problem. We have allowed, continue to allow, and support by bucketloads of taxpayer money, the insanity of supporting people building within some of the most fire-prone vegetation in the hemisphere, near-boreal forest on shield rock:
If the fire had not been started by someone, lightning would have caused it, and the results would have been the same. The only thing that slowed it down was the prescribed burns which had been done to burn off the fuel left from the blow down...often over 50 tons per acre. This was not a tragedy. It was the result of ignoring nature, of allowing people to build expensive structures in a place so fire prone every July or August that managers cringe any time there is lightning. And they continue to bill us for the privilege.
Until that fundamental fact is accepted, this insanity will continue.
While there are many writings on the subject, the best by far is Roger Kennedy's ( A good Minnesotan also!)"Wildfire and Americans:How to Save Lives, Property, and Your Tax Dollars"...a very good read which should be required reading in every school.