It seems like one person’s “accountability” is another person’s “blame.” So let’s not use any inflammatory or pejorative words, and talk here civilly (no politicians in this room :)).
We in the interior west must live with fire. To do so we need an “All of the Above” strategy or a “Three Legged Stool”, 1. (community and personal actions) 2.(prescribed burning, mechanical treatments and WFU) and 3.(suppression). It seems to be PB, MT and WFU in which most of the disagreement lies. For a variety of reasons, once a wildfire is ignited, it’s easier to burn areas than if a project to burn them is planned ($ are there, not so much analysis and no litigation (yet)). And since planned fires can avoid environmentally sensitive area, be placed in areas that will help suppression, and put smoke in the air outside of “smoke season,” it seems logical to try to increase these. So what forces work against that?
In terms of forces that work against PB, MT and (to a lesser extent) WFU:
– Air quality concerns and regulatory framework (does not reflect that PB will make for less fire season smoke)
– Fear of prescribed fires getting out of control/safety (e.g. state of Colorado stopped PB for a couple of
– Litigation, “bulletproofing” documents and associated related work
It seems to me that litigation is not “the problem,” but it certainly contributes to slowing down and stopping projects that lead to fuel treatment, and is one of many contributing factors. Litigation is particularly interesting because, in contrast to public meetings and comments, and appeals or objections, there is no timeframe. So we can imagine some tweaks that would speed up the ultimate resolution without messing with the legal fundamentals.
If we are to move to an “all of the above” strategy, we need to be able to openly talk about what factors would need to change to “get more fire on the landscape,” as so many have said is a desirable goal. Environmental protection, avoiding prescribed burns that turn into wildfires, and so on, all these are good things with good people representing those interests.
In your opinion:
What other forces are out there working against “more fire on the landscape?”
How can we all work together better to get more fire on the landscape?