Fire planning in the southern Sierras

This article describes the draft revised plans for the Inyo, Sierra and Sequoia national forests (from an ag industry perspective).  The way it characterizes the plans’ approach to fire, maybe this approach would make Robin Stanley happy:

The preferred alternative, known as Alternative B, would replace wildland-urban defense and threat zones with a “risk-based wildfire restoration zone and wildfire maintenance zone” to allow for “strategically located fuel reduction treatments along roads, ridgelines and connecting areas with lower fuels to support larger landscape-scale prescribed burning.”

Under the heading “Ecological Integrity,” the preferred alternative calls for improved habitat for endangered and protected species and old-growth forest areas. It also calls for removal of some large and old trees in areas designated as wildfire-protection zones.

This will hopefully lead to some scrutiny of the “best available scientific information” behind the strategy.  I find it hard to believe that the local residents could be convinced to give up their “wildland-urban defense and threat zones.”  And then there’s the question of whether this science has any relevance to the forests of Idaho or elsewhere.

And then there’s the question of whether this approach is consistent with the natural range of variation for ecological conditions for at-risk species so that it really does improve their habitat.   If so, it would be a win for everybody.   Except the timber industry doesn’t like it.

But – I commend the Forest Service for treating fire planning as a core element of these plan revisions, and putting this out in public for discussion.

One Comment

  1. Jon, Thank you for posting this article. I would hope that local citizens would not be expected to give up their WUI or their effort at “Fire Wise” and doing everything they can to protect their own homes. I believe in local communities taking ownership in protecting their investments as well as helping protect the national forests. I am just advocating, similar to this article, that the defense zone needs to be expanded to have the potential to lower the opportunity for large catastrophic fires. In many cases, the small fires are good if they can be managed and controlled. The whole bases of my argument is grounded in attempting to lessen the opportunity for large catastrophic fires. Again, thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *