Forest Policy Reform That Will Make A Difference

Independent Record, Helena Montana

September 29, 2015

Letter to the Editor

Forest policy reform that will make a difference

A few questions a recent article on forest policy reforms didn’t raise or answer. Can we stop the largest fires? No, these fires are weather driven and only become containable when the weather changes.  Can we prevent fires by massively increasing logging? No — see answer above — fires are weather driven and are not driven by vegetation conditions.  Are fires, including large mixed-severity fires good for our forests? Yes, ecologically they create amazing habitat and restore forest ecosystems.  Can we save millions and millions in taxpayer dollars, protect communities and restore our forests by not fighting backcountry fires, focusing our efforts on direct home protection through reducing the flammability of structures and creating defensible space within 100 feet of structures and not subsidizing the logging industry to perform unnecessary and environmentally harmful landscape level “thinning”? You bet.

So why aren’t our fearless leaders in Congress championing legislation that might actually make a difference? Self interest? Lining their own pockets? Keeping their campaign contributors happy? Probably all of the above. Don’t be sucked in by fear or hype — demand legislation that will make things better not worse. After all, our representatives and senators actually work for us.
Rachel Fazio
Big Bear City, California

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