Letting an ally down

It’s deeply disappointing that President Donald Trump made a decision that the U.S. will no longer support Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

The Kurds were America’s allies fighting the Islamic State in Syria, helping to defeat the terrorist organization. In the Middle East, the Kurds have been U.S. allies going back to the Iraq War in the early 2000s.

President Trump made the announcement following a call with the Turkish president.

Turkey wasted no time, launching air strikes and artillery attacks against the outmanned and outgunned Kurds on Wednesday, claiming that they were a terrorist organization threatening the country.

Turkey has a sizeable Kurdish minority that Turkish officials apparently see as a threat.

The U.S. had a small contingent of U.S. troops in northern Syria. As long as Americans were on the ground, supporting the Kurds, Turkey would not attack. But that changed when the president ordered that U.S. forces pull back.

We don’t pretend to know or understand the intricacies of the byzantine political differences in Syria between Turks and Kurds and other factions.

However, abandoning the Kurds after they have fought alongside Americans for most of the past two decades is disappointing and disturbing.

Decker Fire burns

The cold front that brought temperatures down into the single digits and teens in Colorado, Salida and the Upper Arkansas Valley is expected to give way to gradually warming temperatures through next week.

By Thursday, the National Weather Service Pueblo office is calling for temperatures into the high 60s and low 70s, under mostly sunny and clear skies.

With only minimal moisture coming with the front, the Decker Fire burning just south of Salida, now listed at 7,034 acres, will continue burning.

As happened a week ago when the fire blew across Methodist Mountain the night of Oct. 1, wildfire conditions and directions can and often do change quickly.

The good news is that crews have been able to establish direct “black” lines, in many cases, right on the fire’s edges, helping to block the fire’s spread toward homes south of Salida, in the Bear Creek drainage and areas west of western Fremont County communities Wellsville, Swissvale and Howard.

The other element of good news related to the fire is that earlier this week evacuation orders have been lifted for most of those ordered to leave their homes last week.

That residents threatened by the fire can go back to their homes says officials have a degree of confidence that fire lines created over the course of the fire will hold.

Thanks to all those involved in fighting the Decker Fire, to Mark Giacoletto, incident commander, and his crew, now numbering nearly 900.

Thanks, too, to all those who have assisted, who provided meals and other help, and especially to those who offered their homes to provide shelter for those displaced by last week’s evacuation orders.

Welcome Rotarians

This weekend, the county’s three Rotary Clubs host Rotary District 5470’s annual conference at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort.

District Gov. David Wood of Salida made the arrangements to bring the conference here, the first time a district conference has been held in the county.

Welcome to the Upper Arkansas Valley to Rotarians, their families and guests attending the conference. Enjoy the weekend!

— MJB