In perusing Nick Smith’s Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities news roundup today July 18, I was struck by how many articles, essays, and letters called for active forest management…..
Opinion: Forest management is critical to preventing fires (Washington Post)
As a resident of the Methow Valley, I appreciated the Aug. 8 front-page article “ ‘Almost off-the-charts hazardous,’ ” a profile of the effects of wildfires on our community, which rightly identified the role of climate change in our ever-worsening fire seasons. However, there was no mention of the other key factor: long-term forest mismanagement leading to overcrowded, unhealthy forests with massive accumulation of fuels. Without those conditions, fire behavior would be far less extreme.
Brown: Wildfires Aren’t Just a Climate Change Issue (Utah Daily Chronicle)
One of my earliest memories is driving home from a family reunion in southern Utah during a raging wildfire. The stinging smell of smoke and the heat radiating throughout the car is imprinted in my mind. Every year, when I go down south, I see the effects of this wildfire and others. Since 1983, there have been three years where 10 million acres were burned from wildfires; all of these happened in just the last seven years. By all available metrics, wildfires in the United States are getting worse. But how do we stop them? While climate change is certainly to blame for a portion of worsening wildfires, it’s important to look at short-term fixes that could significantly reduce the environmental impact we’re seeing yearly.
Kendall Cotton: Active management creates healthier forests (Montana Standard)
Through the smoky haze, I could just barely make out the “H” on Mount Helena from my home during the last couple of weeks. This year’s fire season has been especially bad, reminding me of the several fire-filled Augusts from my childhood when football practice was moved inside and we’d find chunks of ash on the windshields of our parked cars. Growing up in the Bitterroot Valley, I’ve had a front row seat my entire life to the effects of forest fires. There is no question that increasingly severe fires and smoke-filled skies are bad for our health, our environment and ultimately, the way of life we enjoy here in Montana.
Nick Smith: Willamette National Forest should move quickly to mitigate wildfire hazards (Statesman Journal)
The public should support the Willamette National Forest’s plan to remove dead and dying trees along forest roads impacted by the 2020 wildfires. Quick action is needed to restore and maintain safe access to public lands for recreation, firefighting, forest management and other public uses. It also will save taxpayer dollars, but unfortunately, some groups want to stop this important work from happening.
When ‘no action’ leads to catastrophe (Enterprise-Record)
On July 20, 2021, I sent a text to my son that the Dixie Fire had the potential to run up the North Fork of the Feather River skirt past the south side of Lake Almanor, overrun Greenville, and continue east to the outskirts of Susanville. The reason is that there was more than 1.2 billion board feet of dead timber on national forest land along that path, not salvaged after the 1999 Bucks Fire, the 2000 Storrie Fire, the 2007 Moonlight Fire, and the 2012 Chips Fire. These dead trees now are/were 50+ tons/acre of dry woody fuel. Sadly, my forecast is being realized. This disaster could have been avoided if our courts would stop letting litigants prevail in stopping forest management based on minor technicalities rather than the merits of cases.
Boebert: It’s time to chart a new path in forest management (GJ Sentinel)
Decades of eco-terrorism have effectively shut down our national forests from responsible management. The result? Now there are six billion standing dead trees in the West that create a tinder box waiting to ignite one devastating forest fire after another. It doesn’t need to be this way, which is why I introduced the most comprehensive forest management bill in decades. The bill pays for itself, generates revenue for local communities, and most importantly, makes our forests healthier and safer for all of us to enjoy.
Every two days, US wildfires are consuming an area the size of Washington, DC. And there’s no let up in sight (CNN)
The dozens of wildfires that have scorched the western US this summer have consumed on average 30 square miles — almost half the size of Washington, DC — on a daily basis, the US Drought Monitor said Thursday. And the unrelenting heat will make matters even worse as dangerous, dry thunderstorms are expected this weekend in Northern California, home to the nation’s largest wildfire. “Little or no precipitation fell on most of the (Western) region, and drought intensity remained unchanged from last week in most areas,” the monitor said, noting that the dryness, exacerbated by periods of intense heat, “has led to the rapid development and expansion of wildfires.”
Silva: No more Greenvilles, Paradises, Concows, or Berry Creeks (Chico ER)
Forest fires in the state of California are not new –particularly when you’re talking about fires in the Feather River Canyon. We’ve seen fires repeatedly burn within the canyon for decades, going back to the 1951 Mill Fire. There were big fires as we knew them then — like the 2001 Poe Fire and the 2007 Storrie Fire. There was the massive 2012 Chips Fire that burned near Lake Almanor. All of these fires were big and local media covered them as if they were big events. But in 2008 Butte County got its first taste of what a massive forest fire can do to our communities. The Humboldt Fire, which was started by an arsonist, one that has yet to have been caught for the crime, burned 23,344 acres and destroyed 87 homes.
Time for the Forest Service to clean up their land (Plumas News)
We have removed trees, trimmed branches, cleared brush, debris and pine needles surrounding our house on two acres at Lake Davis. Directly across from our home and all of the other homes here, is forest service land, which surrounds the lake, the trees grow thick like weeds, the understory is thick with brush and debris, another pending disaster. We don’t understand why any and all efforts to thin the forests occurs miles away from any populated areas. …..we need the forest service to send crews up here in the fall or early spring to thin and clear their property as well as the homeowners up here do….then we may have a chance.
California’s Forests Are at a Turning Point. Why Aren’t We Committing to ‘Good Fire’? (KQED)
Year after year, California wildfires shock us with their relentlessness. The 2017 North Bay fires stunned us with their speed and death toll. Then the 2018 Camp Fire became the most destructive on record in the state, nearly wiping out the entire town of Paradise and claiming 85 lives. Last year’s unusual lightning storms led to what officials called a “fire siege.” This summer, as I see towns ravaged, lives lost and the second largest fire on record in California continue to expand, I keep asking myself: When will preventing catastrophic fires feel as urgent as fighting them?
Climate change is only one driver of explosive wildfire seasons — don’t forget land management (The Hill)
The number of “uncontained large fires” around the U.S. has now reached 100, more evidence that America is in the midst of one of the most devastating wildfire seasons on record. These fires have forced evacuations of tens of thousands and burned more than 3.8 million acres. With months left in the season, wildland firefighters are stretched thin, burned out and faced with difficult decisions on all fronts. In response, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service recently sent out a letter calling the current situation a “national crisis” and temporarily restricting the use of prescribed fires and fires for resource benefit. This is not unusual and has happened before during intense fire years. The firefighting resources needed to pull off a complex burn and the stand-by contingency resources in case a prescribed fire escapes are simply not available right now.