To Burn or Not to Burn

Two articles in today’s press invite further discussion of this burning topic.

Bob Zybach pointed out the first, which quotes retired forest managers taking the government to task for letting a Lassen-area fire burn. [I got an email inquiry today from a Lassen area lady asking “who is paying for the fire suppression currently UNDERWAY.”]

The second is an AP story making the opposite point, taking the government to task for putting out too many remote fires.

Pile on, folks!

1 thought on “To Burn or Not to Burn”

  1. Hi Andy: I’ve let my own preferences for active forest management and prescribed burning over let it burn wildfires be known in several discussions here, so no need to go over that ground again. What caught my eye is the statement: “Across the West, only one fire — deep in the Teton Wilderness in Wyoming — is being allowed to burn.”

    Isn’t this statement ignoring the California wildfire also under discussion? Or is that excluded because it was on NPS ground, or because it is no longer being “allowed” to burn now that there is a belated effort to actively suppress it?

    Also, I thought the comments regarding the worst fire in New Mexico’s history as having its “severity minimized” by previous let burn fires was pure arrogant nonsense. Wouldn’t a more logical analysis demonstrate that they “contributed” to the worst fire in state history, rather than moderated it? Maybe even a little cause-and-effect, given the timing of these events? Where do they get this stuff?

    Further: “Rollins, who has studied the Gila’s fire ecology over the years, said one year of fire suppression won’t undo decades of active fire management. But the fire-management world is abuzz about what the reversal could mean for the future.” So now a history of “let it burn” wildfires is somehow transformed into a record of “active fire management” by a student of local fire ecology? Who pays this guy? Has anyone clued him in that he is now discussing the largest fire in state history? And where is this buzzing “fire-management world” located anyway? Will one of its citizens clue Rollins to the fact that the worst fire in state history has probably had a much (much) greater effect on “undoing decades of active fire management,” than a summer of after-the-fact suppression ever could.

    The horse is out of the barn. Too late to close the door, and these types of feeble excuses and rationales are starting to wear thin with a population with no memory of so many wildfires of such large magnitude ever in their lifetimes. What an unnecessary waste. We can and should do better.


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