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Saw Safely 

Editor:

The image of Colin Billings ("Humboldt at Work," May 23), wearing his "Humboldt" cap backward and biting his Stihl into a fir tree, may have made a fine winning photo, but it is perhaps more useful as a poster illustrating how not to run a chainsaw: no helmet, no eye protection, no gloves, no chaps. (I couldn't see whether or not he was wearing steel-toed boots, but somehow I doubt it.) A chainsaw is the most dangerous tool most of us will ever use. It is crucial that we take very seriously that spinning, razor sharp (one hopes), pendulous blade powered by a six horsepower engine weighing 15 pounds.

I hire restoration crews for Siskiyou Land Conservancy's North Coast timberlands, usually a dozen guys wielding powerful Stihl 460s (which look like the saw Colin was using). These guys are typically big and very strong. Even the most macho among them would never consider using a chainsaw without proper protection.

Greg King, Arcata

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