This viewpoint shows more of the reasons why the desire to have larger and more intense wildfires, in the Sierra Nevada, is the wrong way to go.
In this picture below, fire crews were run out of this stand, and back into the “safety zone”, on this fire I worked on, back in 1988.
Air quality the past two weeks has been several times worse than some of the most polluted cities in the world due to smoke from the King fire. Last year’s Rim fire emitted greenhouse gases equivalent to 2.3 million vehicles for a year.
Also, the lost habitat and recreational opportunities from major fires like these are significant. It is not an exaggeration to say that virtually all Californians are affected when these “megafires” occur.
The report points out that wildfires are getting larger and burning at higher intensity than ever before. The Rim fire burned at nearly 40 percent high intensity – meaning virtually no living vegetation is left – covering almost 100,000 acres. More acres have burned in the first 4½ years of this decade than in seven decades of the last century.
What can we do about it?
The main bottleneck in treating more acres is in implementation. The Forest Service is unwilling to increase the size of its Region 5 timber management staffs. They use some of the usual excuses, some of which are beyond their control but, not all of those issues are really significant, looking at the big picture. Yes, it is pretty difficult to implement extremely-complex plans when you are constantly training new temporary employees, hired right off the street.