An Open Letter to Senator Mark Udall

Dear Senator Udall,

I read with interest your Newsletter Update: Fire Season in the Rockies [here] today. You note:

Fire season has officially begun in Colorado. Already we have three active forest fires across the state. The fire in the Great Sand Dunes National Park has burned nearly 5,000 acres, and on Monday, another fire near Cañon City destroyed several buildings, including at least one home. As U.S. Senator, I’m doing everything I can to ensure the Forest Service and the state have the resources they need to keep Coloradans and their property safe during fire season.

In Colorado, one of the biggest threats is bark-beetle-damaged trees. The bark-beetle epidemic, which has devastated large swaths of forest in Colorado and across the Mountain West, has created what is essentially a 3.6 million-acre tinderbox. We now have millions of acres of dead and dying trees that threaten public safety, add fuel to wildfires, endanger water supplies, and put mountain economies at risk.

Ever since I was first elected to Congress in 1998, I have been focused on maintaining the health and safety of our forests, and as your U.S. Senator, I have doubled my efforts to reduce the risks of another event like the Hayman Fire of 2002.

Thank you very much for your rational and reasonable concerns regarding fire risks to Coloradans and to the resources of the great state of Colorado. However, there may be a few items that you may be unaware of:

1. Two of the three active wildfires in Colorado today are Let It Burn fires: the Medano Fire [here] at the Great Sand Dunes NP and Pike and San Isabel NF in Saguache Co.; and the Water Creek Fire [here] on the Roan Plateau northwest of Rifle in Garfield Co.

2. By “Let It Burn” I mean the fire management strategy is not contain-control-extinguish but rather to “monitor” the fires while they burn unchecked.

3. In the case of the Water Creek Fire, the fire reports are sparse and inaccurate but some facts are evident. Wildland fire use (whoofoo) teams (modules) have assumed management of the fire. Although their job (ostensibly) is to monitor, not fight the fire, they do not file monitoring reports, ironically. The BLM, Colorado River Valley Field Office (formerly Glenwood Springs — site of Storm King Mountain Monument) is the responsible agency. Downwind of the fire are the communities of Rifle, Silt, New Castle, and Glenwood Springs. The Roan Plateau is a very valuable piece of property. In 2008 the Roan Plateau lease sale netted $113.9 million, making it the highest grossing onshore oil and natural gas lease sale in BLM history in the lower 48 states.

One might think that with such valuable resources at stake, the BLM could do a slightly better job in managing and reporting on fires in the vicinity. Do you think that allowing the Water Creek Fire to burn unchecked until October rains arrive is wise?

4. In the case of the Medano Fire, the fire was ignited by lightning June 6 at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It could have put it out on that date with a garden hose, but the NPS chose to Let It Burn with no plan whatsoever, and then on June 17 it blew up to 3,000 acres. The fire burned off the Park onto the Reserve (still NPS). To date 4,891 acres have burned, including 120 on the Pike and San Isabel National Forest.

The NPS alleges to be doing “long-range planning” but that was an afterthought. There was no planning until the fire blew up. There is still no plan. The plan will come later. It’s already too late. The damage is done. No computer model is going to fix that.

The fire is still very active (it grew another 120 acres yesterday), and what little efforts are being made to “confine” the fire are ineffective. Over a $million have been spent not fighting a fire that could have been doused on the day of ignition for less than ten $thousand.

Do you think it is responsible or even sane to let a fire burn from now until October on the Rocky Mountain Front?

5. A pertinent issue has arisen in New Mexico. Certain elements are invoking the name of your late cousin Stewart Udall to promote the takeover of the Valles Caldera National Preserve by the National Park Service. It is important to note that the NPS is incompetent at fire management, lacks effective fire crews, and has adopted a Let It Burn fire policy. In 2000 the NPS actually lit a fire at the nearby Bandolier National Monument that burned all the way to Los Alamos and inflicted a billion dollars in damages.

Currently, the South Fork Fire immediately north of Valles Caldera is 15,000 acres on the Santa Fe National Forest. Direct attack of the fire has been unsuccessful and evaluation of conditions has shown it would be unsafe to place firefighters adjacent to the fire. An indirect strategy is being implemented instead, using the existing road network and extensive back burning. It is hoped that the strategy will contain the fire within the indirect lines until monsoon rains douse it (expected sometime in July).

If the fire had been on NPS land, no such strategy would have been employed. Instead, the NPS typically does Let It Burn until the fire is on someone else’s property and becomes someone else’s problem.

Do you think it is responsible to break the trust documents at Valles Caldera and convey the property to an agency that refuses to do fire suppression?

I sincerely appreciate and share your concerns about the looming threat of megafires, such as the 2002 Hayman Fire (138,000 acres). That fire cost $40 million to suppress and inflicted at least $170 million in direct, indirect, rehabilitation, and additional costs and losses.

The solution you have promoted, to “expand the Forest Service’s authority to take proactive measures to protect at-risk communities and watersheds,” is certainly laudable. May I respectfully offer some other suggestions?

1. Perhaps Congress could fund the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) ten-fold or more over current meager levels. The CFLRP promises to do exactly what you advise: implement landscape-scale (50,000 acres and up) forest restoration projects designed to reduce fuels, enhance forest resiliency to fire and insects, restore ecological functions, and provide jobs.

The CFLRP is a national program. It applies to every state. It is not just for one state. Our forest and wildfire crisis is a national one, not confined to any one state. Therefore it makes sense to approach the issue in a holistic, comprehensive manner. I realize that you represent Colorado and seek what might be best for Coloradoans. But a piecemeal, state-by-state approach is actually counterproductive and will result in less forest restoration, not more. Don’t you think it would be wiser to fund the existing program, one that you voted for I might add, than to create 50 new little one-state programs?

2. Restoration forestry projects proposed under the authorities of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (2003) and the Forest Landscape Restoration Act (2009) have been held up by an endless stream of lawsuits. Certain well-funded litigious groups have made it their mission to sabotage and undermine projects that were generated with the intention of fulfilling restoration mandates which Congress established. Federal land management agencies are attempting to impart forest resiliency as you instructed them to, but have been paralyzed by lawsuits.

Wouldn’t it be wise to examine the pitfalls of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Equal Access to Justice Act, and other laws that litigious groups use to monkey wrench and subvert the will of Congress? No matter what new initiative to restore forests that you promote, if lawsuits stymie implementation, then nothing substantial will have been accomplished and the megafire hazard will not be mitigated. Don’t you agree?

3. The current red tape that constrains Federal fire suppression and disconnects fire managers from land management programs has led to indecision and poor decision-making on wildfires. Let It Burn policies increase the probability of megafires. Allowing fires to burn unchecked and uncontrolled for months at a time invites catastrophes such as the Hayman Fire.

Ironically, fire suppression decisions are not subject to NEPA, ESA, or other environmental laws. Fire managers can make the choice to Let It Burn in abeyance of those laws, decisions that circumvent legally mandated intents, significantly impact the environment, destroy endangered species and their habitat, incinerate watersheds and pollute waterways, and compromise public health and safety.

Wouldn’t it be wise for Congress to investigate the policies that Federal fire managers are employing, to see if they comport with Congressional intent, and to see if they are effective in fulfilling the mandates you have established for Federal lands? If the fire policies implemented on the ground contravene Congressional intent, then no matter what new forest restoration programs you establish, the land will be incinerated anyway by misguided fire management. You don’t wish that to happen anymore, do you?

Thank you for your concerns and efforts to save lives and property, and to protect our Nation’s heritage and natural resources.

I look forward to receiving and reading your answers to the questions I have posed.


Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir W.I.S.E.

The Western Institute for Study of the Environment is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational corporation and a collaboration of environmental scientists, resource professionals and practitioners, and the interested public.

Our mission is to further advancements in knowledge and environmental stewardship across a spectrum of related environmental disciplines and professions. We are ready, willing, and able to teach good stewardship and caring for the land.

W.I.S.E. provides a free, on-line set of post-graduate courses in environmental studies, currently fifty topics in eight Colloquia, each containing book and article reviews, original papers, and essays. In addition, we present three Commentary sub-sites, a news clipping sub-site, and a fire tracking sub-site. Reviews and original articles are archived in our Library.

24 Jun 2010, 2:18pm
by Tom Ribe

Its interesting that you use the term “let it burn” which is not used anywhere in the professional fire world today. For those of us involved in wildland fire on the ground and on the policy level, this term dates back to the 1903 timeframe when fire was first being approached. Today nobody uses it. Given that, its hard to understand what you are talking about since you don’t use the terminology of the profession.

Your superficial analysis of environmental law relative to fire shows you really haven’t engaged the issue in a serious way. Your hostility to Obama (huge improvement over Bush) and conservation law puts you in a certain camp that we are all too familiar with.

In fact the National Park Service is integrated into the national fire community and is a leader in progressive fire management policy. That policy is complex and well considered. They have no “let it burn” philosophy that differs from those of other agencies except that NPS lands are managed for protection rather than for industry.

Its important to understand that climate change is changing fire. The Flagstaff and Great Sand Dunes fires are some of the best examples of the new climate driven fire regime.

My book on the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 examines fire policy and its history in depth. See the website for the book at

Reply: Well Tom, we also use terms like wildland fire use (whoofoo), fires used for resource benefit (foofurb), appropriate management response (hammer), and sundry other terms as they appear and disappear. It’s not like we don’t know what we’re talking about. I suggest you examine the hundreds of posts [here] where we explore the terminology in detail before you jump to assumptions, sport.

And by the way, one term we have dropped completely is “wildland”. That’s a meaningless drivel word. We prefer “forests”. Oh, and “climate” is not driving a new “fire regime”. That’s drivel, too. We understand your camp very well. I think maybe you don’t understand us at all.

24 Jun 2010, 4:08pm
by Derek W.

Ironically, Mr. Udall, who’s consistently received a 100% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, was quoted not even ten years ago demanding that the USFS “end the timber sale program in order to protect rather than destroy our national forests”. Wow! What a difference a pine beetle epidemic makes. I admire him for changing his tone — I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things. At least he’s one environmentalist whose got the character to change his mind and not cling to tired old enviro rhetoric and dogma because the sixties were the defining moment of his life.

24 Jun 2010, 6:17pm
by Larry H.

The performance of the Park Service fire folks in Yosemite was depressing last year. Twice they botched fires, resulting in costly impacts that haven’t yet been fully dealt with. Part of their problem is their outright refusal to follow the Forest Service’s lead when doing prescribed fire. They insist on burning during the summers, even with near-record heat!

Also, their monitoring of lightning fires left to burn was awful, and they ended up having to torch off miles of Highway 41, burning uphill in steep terrain and killing hundreds of roadside trees that will have to be cut. Not to mention the old growth between the highway and the main fire hundreds of feet above.

Their Big Meadow prescribed fire intended to burn 90 acres of brush surrounding the Big Meadow at Foresta. After less than one hour of burning, the wildfire was off to the races, burning for weeks, closing highways into the park during the peak of tourist season, making a moonscape of the old A-Rock Fire. Hundreds, if not thousands of old growth trees in the Crane Flat area were also killed. The fire also initiated multiple health warnings for both the local area (which made multiple neighbors, as well as myself sick), AND for the Lake Tahoe/Reno area. They also have yet to cut the hazard trees along Big Oak Flat Road and the Tioga Pass Road. I’m sure we’ll see long delays on those roads when the work starts.

In my humble opinion, as one who worked on the A-Rock fire salvage in 1990, I predict it will take decades before pines get re-established within the interior of of the high-intensity fire zone. The REAL reasons they burn during the summers is that they care more about burning conditions than safety. The other reason is that they are unwilling to employ permanent seasonal firefighters who will be there in the fall and spring instead of relying on temporary employees who run out of appointment days.

In 20 short years, the Foresta area has went from majestic old growth pines that were fire-adapted over centuries, to an eroding moonscape. Locals wanted heads to roll and the investigation resulted in uncovering numerous mistakes, big and small.

25 Jun 2010, 8:26am
by Bob Zybach

The arrogance of Tom Ribes was refreshing. When he states: “Given that, its hard to understand what you are talking about since you don’t use the terminology of the profession,” it made me wonder if he reads literature in their native languages, converses with pilots in technical aeronautical terms, and discusses his medical problems with doctors and lab technicians using their profession’s terminology. I’m guessing “no.”

“Let it burn” is exactly the descriptive term that is needed to describe current policies, whether one agrees with them or not. Maybe it is old-fashioned and out of favor, as Expert Tom avers. So what? It sure as hell is a lot clearer and makes a lot more sense than the sea of shifting acronyms that currently pollute and obfuscate the “terminology of the profession” of the Tom Ribes of the industry.

Tom’s unsolicited denunciation of Bush and promotions of Obama, Apocalyptic Global Warming (”AGW”), and his own website seemed to further tip his hand. So I went to the given link out of morbid curiosity. It doesn’t say anything about his qualifications as a writer or researcher (other than he was “inspired by Norman MacLean”), but the forward to his book is written by Timothy Ingalsbee. That almost inspired me to use one of those text acronyms or smiley faces myself. It truly did make me LOL.

I’ve bought four copies of Bill Hagenstein’s book instead of any of Tom’s or Tim’s. Bill truly knows about forestry and about fighting wildfires. He also speaks in Plain English (some vulgar), is down-to-earth, has a great sense of humor, and knows what he is talking about. And has some choice words and thoughts regarding the Ribes and Inglasbees of the world.

25 Jun 2010, 9:11am
by bear bait

A cursory look at the Federal response and bureaucratic malaise in the Gulf oil spill can become the template from which to evaluate the ability of the Feds to do anything!! Anything!! They can’t. The classic monkey having its way with a football.

We must understand and know that the Feds not only become entangled in their own chain of command, and all the egos involved are protected first, but we must also understand that government works like one of those domino set ups that take hours to tip over, one at a time, every last domino. There are no shortcuts. There is just no way to negotiate the layer upon layer of administrative rule, of agency work rules, of contract and in-house work rules, political interferences, and have a working decision when you are talking about an environmental ongoing disaster, whether it be fire, flood, wind, or industrial spill or wreck of some kind. As it is now constructed, the event that starts the dominoes to tip over has to run its course before any kind of response can be affected. And all the time it takes to work through that process will have devastating results, every time.

I have been on way too many Federal fires where the mandatory change in overhead teams brought the fire suppression to a stand still until the new command and control personnel were brought into play. Sometimes that took as many as three days. The built-in, known, inability of the Feds to respond in a timely way is tragic and a waste, but hey!!! That is just the way it is…

So, until there is a vigorous attempt to reduce fuels by any means, at the times of the year when conflagration chances are low, we will see these fires, suffer their short and long term damages, and all this gives real import to the W.I.S.E short form fire damage form you can download on WISE’s site [here].

The issue that wildfire is a benign event, with little short or long term damage, and then if it is a domicile threatened the resident gets blamed for where he or she lives, is disingenuous and wrong headed. Fire does damage things, and if it kills a 400 year old tree it will take a minimum of 400 years to grow another in its place. If the fire changes soil chemistry, it will take decades for the precipitation and weathering to once again build new soil to replace those lost to the plume, and those whose chemistry has been altered to disfavor vegetation in the short haul. Fire does damage.

All the attempts at the apologists for the mad men and women now allowing and planning to allow fire to run wild deserve to be met with resistance and disdain. A forest of trees is no longer a forest of trees once all have been killed by fire. That is by no means a type of “preservation.” That is waste by benign neglect, and that is what our government wants to feed us because they do not have the legal footing or courage to do otherwise. Only Congress can change that, and as it now stands, Congress is in the illustrated dictionary under “dysfunctional.” It also can be found under “spineless”, “self serving”, “inept”, and “black hole.” You get what you vote for and who you vote for in a democracy. As it now stands, we have a Federal land management regime that is intent on burning the whole of the Federal Estate. Show us any example to the contrary.

25 Jun 2010, 10:28am
by Mike

Protection my eye. The National Park Service is a Let It Burn fiasco outfit, with an ample string of firefighter fatalities on their conscience.

They routinely destroy heritage, habitat, air and water quality, and endanger public health and safety with the most braindead fire philosophy on the planet.

There has long been a close association of the NPS with radical holocausters and political scum of the extreme far left. NPS policies are based on dytopian dreams, not reality. The same old 1930’s propaganda emanating from the false (reverse) patriots is tiresome and disgusting.

By the way, as to fire terminology, we are the only news purveyor in the world to report on the changes and gag orders that came out of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group last May [here]. We are so ahead of the curve it isn’t funny.

25 Jun 2010, 1:20pm
by YPmule

“Fire use for resource benefit” - I have yet to decipher what exactly that means. Is it a benefit for all the trees to die? (Either burned, roasted or stressed and bug killed.) Show me the benefit for the hillside to erode and pour silt and soot down into the river! Where is the benefit for the wildlife when there is no longer food and cover? No winter range? I guess it thins out the little squeaks, and encourages a woodpecker and pine beetle population boom. A lot of native plants are gone and invasive species are gaining ground - is less “biodiversity” a benefit?

Reply: it is egregious eco-babble designed by government functionaries to con and fool the taxpayers. The only adherents left are the compleat stooges; even the functionaries have dropped the terminology after we derided them unmercifully on this blog. Whoofoo and foofurb!!! It got under their skin. The latest is “niado,” which is the acronym for “natural ignitions to achieve desired objectives.” It’s all malicious Let It Burn, and they know it.

26 Jun 2010, 8:33pm
by Larry H.

New on the horizon is H. R. 5192, which seeks to declare an emergency situation in the beetle kill areas and unhealthy forests. A categorical exclusion would be used to harvest dead trees, as well as treating unhealthy forests. Another aspect of the bill would be the designation of removed biomass as “renewable” energy sources.

It’s unlikely that such a bill would pass, but more and more bills dealing with the sad state of our forests are being crafted, and the “preservationists” in opposition will be seen as extremists by people all across the country.

26 Jun 2010, 9:37pm
by Mike

H.R 5192 is the Forest Ecosystem Recovery and Protection Act [here].

It is sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo). There was a hearing on the bill on June 25th in the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. It did not go well. Rep. Lummis issued a statement afterward in which she said, in part:

“The state of forests in Wyoming and the West is cause for great alarm. The bark beetle epidemic has reached proportions never-before seen, and it shows no sign of stopping. The Forest Service has estimated that 100,000 trees are falling every single day in our forests. Over 3.5 million acres of forested land in Wyoming are already dead from bark beetle infestation, and areas in the West that have not typically been in danger of outbreaks are squarely in the beetle’s path today. The unfolding crisis is not only heartbreaking, it is dangerous.

“I collaborated in good faith with the Obama Administration’s own forest experts on my bill, and ultimately produced legislation that gives these experts what they have been asking for. Today, the Obama Administration overruled their own experts, and testified in opposition to the bill – even provisions that the Forest Service themselves had asked to be included. Today’s testimony, which I believe was forced onto the Forest Service, makes it clear the Administration is not willing to listen to experts on the ground, and cares very little about the fate of our forests. National Forests in Wyoming and the entire West are suffering from the Administration’s lack of conviction. While the President makes political calculations, trees are falling, and the beetles’ march continues.

“I believe the Forest Ecosystem Recovery and Protection Act strikes the right balance. I know that not everything in it will be agreeable to all parties, but I stand ready to work with anyone – Republican or Democrat – to modify this bill, or craft a new one that will set us on the path to forest ecosystem recovery and protection. Sadly, the Obama Administration is not interested in collaboration.”

I will write a post about this bill soon. It has some good parts and some parts I don’t care for all that much, but overall it is a step in the right direction. It does not appear that the Obama Administration is supportive, and given the unbalanced and dysfunctional condition of Congress right now, the bill is going have a tough time getting passed.

But it would a step forward and merits some fine-tooth analysis and explication. Soon.

27 Jun 2010, 7:24am
by Ned P.

I look forward to your post about the bill. The bark beetle has caused a serious conundrum, one that probably cannot be solved until the inevitable wildfire eliminates the biomass of dead timber. Beneficial use of the biomass requires an industry that does not exist. The question becomes - can an industry be developed to utilize the biomass before the wildfire? Given the current political situation, it is very doubtful. A very sad situation and heartbreaking crisis.

27 Jun 2010, 10:17am
by Larry H.

I guess we just have to be assured that in the face of 200 million dead trees, “more research is needed”. Also reassuring is their claim that dead trees don’t burn after the needles fall off. *smirk*

Looks like the Forest Service and Earthjustice are “collaborating” but, I’d recommend reading the EJ response, an attempt to fight the “common sense” of removing HUGE amounts of excess biomass. Everything seems to hinge on the fallacy that dead trees don’t burn. HELLO!!! Remember the Hayman Fire, started with a lunatic’s tiny escaped arson fire!!??

27 Jun 2010, 4:57pm
by bear bait

The USA finally got an Adlai Stevenson from Chicago elected President. Over fifty years ago, Adlai lost to Ike. Our country elected Ike instead of Adlai because Ike had done something, and Adlai had only talked about doing something.

So now that we have a talker, not a doer, the folly of electing talkers over doers is now upon us. We must live with that for the next two years. In the meantime, we do have the opportunity to elect a Congress that will challenge the talker, and perhaps find in itself the will to actually do things. I won’t hold my breath, however.

In the meantime, we must get used to the idea that present political leadership in the ObamaNation is intent on letting the NGOs of the Environment run the land management agencies, and that means burning much of the public estate. The only thing that can be done is record their deeds, and record the results. Build a record. Use the W.I.S.E. “one pager” wildfire reporting download and file your own report of damage to health, welfare, public assets, and personal property from every fire that touches you. In time, the record will be undeniable, and there for all to see, including academics. Someone will write a book. The overwhelming evidence will pile up fire by fire by fire. The insult to common sense and the disgrace of malfeasance in office will plainly be seen. It just has to be recorded, one event at a time. Help W.IS.E. compile a record that will be available to all, especially your congressman or woman, your senator, your governor. The truth will prevail.

27 Jun 2010, 7:00pm
by Larry H.

Sadly, 200 million+ dead trees SHOULD be enough to get peoples’ attentions, but…

Data is our friend, and the public can be swayed by “peer-reviewed studies”, as long as they aren’t from “right-wing forest rapers”. Yep, childishly bash the messenger and not the message! We’re still seeing a lack of publicity about our on-going forest disaster. People and the media don’t want to talk about it, due to their extreme uncertainty about the facts we bring. Hell, they are even giddy about the 20 year anniversary of the northern spotted owl listing. I see that milestone as a celebration of failure.

The acceptance that “dead trees don’t burn” into the Congress, as well as the Hanson study that even the MSM wouldn’t publish, is a travesty of science and politics. WHERE is the peer review on Hanson’s paper!?!?! I want NAMES!!! We can’t let “scientists” anonymously sign on to these junk science turds. We need to engage these folks where they “live”.

Regarding Congress, I’d be in favor of voting AGAINST any lawyer, regardless of party. And, since almost HALF of the Congress are lawyers, it’s time for a major housecleaning. Does anyone see that lawyers seems to be THE worst at actually making laws!?

Sadly, the overwhelming evidence will be body counts and houses burned. Only then will they drop the politics and try to hammer out some kind of emergency measure, like H. R. 5192 and the Healthy Forests Act. Tragedy tends to get things done.

I had an exchange with an old classmate of mine on Facebook, and she was very concerned with what I was saying about out forests. She’s currently in Tennessee, at a big global warming meeting (With the AL), and said that my message should be heard, even suggesting that I get involved and join. She actually saw my logic and truth, amazingly enough. I took great care not to engage her on AGW, and I told her that I wouldn’t be welcomed, due to my position on forests, and how I’ve been treated by the AGW crowd in other forums. Soooo, there does seem to be some wiggle room with openminded people… or even people who have a sippy-glass full of Kool-Aid.

27 Jun 2010, 7:04pm
by Larry H.

And one more thing…

If “the science is settled” on AGW, how come, with 200 million dead trees, they “need more research” on forest ecosystems?!?

28 Jun 2010, 9:54am
by Bob Zybach


You are right. The “experiment” has failed. Passive management of our nation’s forests and grasslands doesn’t work. Managing by “consensus” doesn’t work. Managing via “collaboration” doesn’t work.

These methods don’t work for brain surgery, bus transportation, or ice hockey, either. Professionals are employed for those enterprises and brain surgery is often successful, the bus often arrives on time and without incident, and people pay good money to watch hockey games.

Public forests were managed successfully in the United States for nearly 100 years by professional foresters. Then, first beginning in the 1960s, gaining ground in the 1980s, and then culminating in the 1990s — passive management became the policy. Our forests have been dying and burning up ever since. They are now a real mess.

The “science” will never really be settled, but the “experiment” — which has cost US taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in expense and damages, and at the added cost of millions of dead animals — has obviously failed. The evidence is overwhelming, and it is everywhere.

We need professional foresters once again to manage our nation’s forests. And we need to let them do their job.

2 Jul 2010, 7:33am
by Marie

If you call the loss of old growth and subsequent impacts to old growth dependent species in the Pacific Northwest and the exclusion of fire from fire adapted and fire dependent ecosystems throughout the west “successful” then I guess that 100 years of timber management on public lands was successful.

Actually it was the management of public lands exclusively for the extration of timber and grazing of cattle that led to the present day conditions and the loss of the public’s trust in public land managers.

2 Jul 2010, 10:33am
by Mike


Everything you know is wrong. Timber has NOT been the driver but just one of number of resource drivers which include water, wildlife, recreation, etc.

Now the driver is fire, getting the burn out, killing as much forest every year as possible in megafire holocausts. That policy is pushed by anti-forest, anti-humanity, despicable death merchants outside the agency whom the public not only distrusts but rightfully despises.



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