Lies and damned lies
There is a damned lie being passed around, that environmentalists are to blame for the current fire hazard in our forests. This is propaganda generated by industry and government lackies to hide the truth, that their actions caused these conditions.
Our forests were fire resistant until they were cut over. The subsequent thickets of small-diameter trees and brush that took their place are the worst fire hazard that exists. Then, as trees approach a large-diameter, fire-resistant size, they are again removed through logging. This cycle only perpetuates the fire hazard we face.
Increasing the danger, at the turn of the century timber interests demanded that fires be suppressed to protect their interests. To add to the injury, in recent years timber interests have abused the system of laws designed to protect the environment by manipulating the THP and EIS review processes. These forestry practices (overcutting and fire suppression) are why our forests are in such dire conditions.
Many of the lawsuits filed by environmental groups were filed to stop the removal of the fire-resistant, largest-diameter trees. Environmentalists have also asked that the smaller-diameter trees and slash (i.e. the real fire threat) be removed.
The answer to the current situation is to find funding to remove the small trees and surface fuels that fuel catastrophic fires while leaving the fire-resistant large trees to provide shade to keep brush regrowth to a minimum. Brush can safely be removed with mastication or goat browse. Leaving 60 percent canopy closure eliminates most brush regrowth.
Current practices of clear-cutting, or thinning out the largest trees, is not the answer but, as stated, a continuation of the problem. Making environmentalists scapegoats is intended to hide this fact.
It is time to put up or shut up. We need a public forum broadcast via radio and TV where all sides can present their case, and not like the recent one-sided “Fire and Fuels” workshops. Or we can let industry continue to hide behind its damned lies.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.