Here’s the press release from NAFSR..
Leaders of the National Association of Forest Service Retirees met with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in Washington D.C. today to present him with their concerns and recommendations to improve the current fire management situation in the America’s National Forests.
NAFSR Board Chair Jim Golden and Fire Committee leader Al West stated that “we believe that the current fire management situation in many of our National Forests is unsustainable,
from the standpoint of natural resources, community welfare, economics and general stewardship. In addition, it is a significant threat to all Forest Service programs, both fire
and non-fire related as well as the statutory responsibilities in all mission areas.” NAFSR leaders also told the Chief that the linkage between poor forest health and fire size and
intensity is undeniable.
NAFSR Executive Director Darrel Kenops added that “we take this position and make these recommendations at a very critical time for the U.S. Forest Service, for affected communities and for our Nation. There is a growing understanding the current situation is unsustainable and now it’s time for enacting significant fire policy improvements if we are to save our
National Forests and National Grasslands. We join with many who realize this situation is unsustainable and recognize the need for improvement and action.”
Here’s the link to the position paper.
IT IS THE POSITION OF NAFSR THAT THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS ARE NEEDED TO CLARIFY AND IMPROVE THE CURRENT FIRE POLICY SITUATION AND NAFSR WILL WORK ACTIVELY WITH OTHER PARTNERS TO IMPLEMENT THEM:
1. There is a need to gain recognition and broad support that the National Forests and National Grasslands must be actively managed to restore them to a healthy and sustainable condition for future generations to benefit from and enjoy.
2. Seek ways to increase funding to improve forest health and reduce fuel loading through management that includes the use of prescribed fire and silvicultural treatments, both at
National Forest boundaries and in the interior. Sustainable utilization of biomass and forest products could finance significant forest restoration.
3. Past fire management reviews need to be revisited, including the Yellowstone Evaluation Report following the 1988 fires. They should be updated, revisions made where necessary and reissued as policy for wide understanding.
4. Recent Fire Policy Statements should be clarified to ensure there is understanding of the different types of fires. It is essential that personnel understand and implement rapid aggressive initial attack in all areas and situations where there is no pre-approved and clearly defined plan
that calls for another approach.
5. Line Officers and Fire leadership must receive adequate training, and with help, gain experience in implementing National Fire Policy. Assistance of local knowledgeable personnel and others should be a requirement until experience is obtained.
6. “Hot” fire review of the majority of controversial, costly and damaging fires should be carried out. Follow-up reviews should be independently made with recommendations on accountability.
7. There is a need to continue to pursue realistic fire suppression funding that is adequate so that other general appropriations shall not be used or taken to support fire suppression. The intent of the Flame Act of 2009 has not been realized.
8. Develop a policy statement emphasizing all employees can have and are encouraged to have a role during fire emergencies, regardless of duty location and personal limitation.
9. Emphasis on preparing fire management and leadership succession planning should have high priority. As experienced trained fire-qualified personnel retire, it is critical to step up planning and implementation of training, including practical experience, in accordance with a long term plan.
10. There is a need to actively pursue support for reducing existing legislation conflicts and exposure to frivolous appeals and litigation that hamper proposed management projects, and help to streamline environmental planning to make it more effective and less costly.
The National Association of Forest Service Retirees stands ready to provide assistance
I’d be interested in which numbers people agree and don’t agree with and why.