Marc Jameson: Wildfire risk has blown up |

Marc Jameson: Wildfire risk has blown up

With rainfall below normal and abundant talk concerning the amorphous term global warming” there is a need for focused attention upon the various influences upon fire severity.

While rainfall is a factor, wind is critical. Wind-driven fires are extremely difficult to stop. When communities are in the path of a wind-driven fire, fire-clearance values are diminished.

Rural populations have increased, along with the number of machines capable of starting fires, including generators, chainsaws, string trimmers and mowers. Protection of homes reduces resources available to attack fire in the wildland.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors affecting our ability to reduce large fires is suppression-response time. Over the past 30 years, the mileage of open road on U.S. Forest Service lands has been reduced substantially for resource protection purposes. Budgets have also been reduced.

Years ago, the initial attack of forest fires was often by a nearby logging crew. Rapid attack of new fire starts is essential to keep them small. These are huge issues that society needs to balance.

Wildfire is significant and changing. Focused data analysis, funding, coordination, cooperation and action will be required to make a dent in the problem.

Marc Jameson

Nevada City

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