In this article from Colorado Politics, Joey Bunch, a political reporter, talks about a press conference after Trump’s “raking the forest” comment.
“Yes, the temperatures are getting hotter, the seasons longer,” Zinke said. “But there are active forest management principles we need to go forward on. One is to remove the dead and dying trees, to thin, to do prescribed burns late in the season rather than mid-season.”
Both secretaries said the Trump administration needed more authority from Congress to get ahead of fires by expanding “good neighbor” programs with local governments, expanding the fight against diseases and insects and managing funding better.
Bunch spoke with Scott Braden, the wilderness advocate for Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, who talked about points of agreement with Zinke.
He and Zinke had points of agreement, however. The landscape is increasingly dry, they said, and a century of fire suppression has built up a powder keg of brush and weeks awaiting their spark.
Braden went farther: Building houses and communities in these vulnerable places worsens the risks and raises the cost of solutions.
“Pretty simple,” he responded in an email when I asked his opinion. “Solutions, less so.
“We need to build smarter, fire-resilient communities where vulnerable (hello, Woodland Park, the next Paradise), address climate and reduce fuels (prescribed burns, not fighting every fire, thinning and fuels reduction, which is not the same as logging all the big trees; the big trees are the fire-resilient ones you want to leave).”
Thinking about our previous discussion about California, it seems like the difference between Colorado and California is that we think -if people would actually buy thinned material, that would be a good thing, so we don’t have to burn it. And dead trees are not particularly “fire resilient” and we have lots of those. Perhaps superstitiously, I would prefer if Braden hadn’t targeted my neighbors as “the next Paradise.” Especially since they have been leaders in community fire efforts.
The summary from Bunch: Again, it sounded like the two sides, at least in rhetoric, aren’t that far apart about tackling the symptoms, even as they differ on the cause. “We’ve talked about active forest management for a long time,” Zinke said. “The talking is over. Now it’s time to act.”
That sounds like, “Grab a rake, Colorado.”
We have one more type of straw project to add to the list:
1. FS clearcutting in California
2. Fuel treatments in backcountry
3. Fuel treatments taking out big fire-resilient (living?) trees
So the only thing this Administration and this environmental group disagree about is their approach to climate change mitigation? That seems to leave lots of opportunities for agreeing on priorities and on-the-ground community planning, fuel treatment and prescribed fire and all the rest of it. It would turn out that we’re all in agreement- and what’s wrong with (admitting) that?