Letter: Time to rethink fire policy


To the community,

At the time of this letter, 41 wildfires are burning in the West. Controlled burns have become big business for the Forest Service, spending millions of our tax dollars. There could never be enough controlled burns performed in the whole West that would stop fires created by random lightning strikes. Controlled burns/wildfires create massive air pollution. Unfortunately environmental groups busy fighting coal fired power plants have turned a blind eye to control burns and wildfires, our the biggest source of pollution. It is a scientific fact that smoke reduces the quality and length of many peoples lives. It also puts firefighters lives at stake unnecessarily.

Firefighters know the three rules to controlling a fire. No. 1 is remove the oxygen source. In the case of wildfires this is not usually possible unless the fire can be smothered easily.

No. 2 is to remove the fuel. Logging for fire breaks is the key to stopping wildfires in the Southwest. Also thinning, and grazing are essential. Unfortunately, environmental groups are micromanaging the Forest Service’s attempts to log.

No. 3 is to remove the heat from the fire or surround and drown. Air tankers are desperately needed to put out wildfires immediately. Yes, air tankers are expensive, but after the initial cost they will save lives, provide clean air and generate peace of mind. Ask yourselves how expensive repeated useless control burns are and how much it costs to battle these huge wildfires?

The Forest Service says wildfires are a natural event. The bubonic plague was a natural event, but we don’t want to experience it in our lifetimes. It’s time for our government to do something that makes sense. Invest in air tankers and log/graze our forest for fire breaks. Call your federal lawmakers today.

Marsha Honn, Snowflake, Ariz.


About author

This article was written by admin


Comments (7)
  1. ljames says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    Why is this here? It’s one thing to offer an editorial opinion but how about one that makes some more sense and doesn’t rely on right-wing knee jerk buzzword arguments like buzzwords like “micro-manage” and “spending taxpayer dollars”? The fact that fire is “natural” is not the major reason one would advocate controlled burning? There are a lot of other advantages (favoring fire dependent species, nutrient cycling, reducing the intensity of ladder fuels in a manner that does not require road building or soil and water quality disturbances, affecting fuels reductions in areas that do not present any opportunity for commercially viable logging, etc) – and yes there are adverse effects because, wish all you might, there is no free lunch here. And controlled burns do not preclude other ways to reduce fuels, which are also used – so it’s spurious to create an either-or scenario that just doesn’t exist.

    If you follow this person’s logic, we should all be looking forward to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, because then we will have less oxygen for fire? :)

  2. WOODY says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    The lady from Snowflake sees more air tankers as “the answer” to fighting wildfires. Not so, says the experts.
    Many scientific studies have shown that air tankers have proven consistently ineffective in fighting wildfires.
    And the retardant they spew is dangerous and polluting.
    But the USFS stubbornly ignores all the data and requests more tankers. Fortunately, they cannot be justified on the basis of past performance and present lasting pollution.
    Our present vulnerability to uncontrolled forest fire stems largely from the Forest Service’s failure for half a century to understand that periodic forest floor fire is needed to keep down the fuel accumulation buildup that results in devastating crown fires like the present disastrous Rim Fire.

  3. MTT says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    Woody i brought up potential danger of using so much fire retardant in a water shed area as vast as the West Slope sierra.

    The consensus was its (OK) cuz what they use does not contain PBDEs
    And a link to this website was provided.

    I am still not feeling all warm and fuzzy about it, But the issue has been addressed to excess it appears.

  4. TeaTotal says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    ljames-I think this story is here because the thinly veiled anti-gubmint worker meme is popular with the ‘privatize the commons’ libertarians that pick the stories for this publication. Sucking up to the corp. media is the way to get ahead, ethics aside after all.
    It’s quite noticeable that it’s freakin’ Labor Day and not even 1 story about the boot on the neck of workers.
    Plenty of ink for the private sector logging conglomerates that would rape the forests for a buck and hire the cheapest labor possible to do it. Consequences be dammed.

  5. Dogula says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    That’s some pretty funny satire there, Teatotal! It IS satire, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

  6. ljames says - Posted: September 2, 2013

    well I’m guessing yes – LOL – okay, guess we all spoke our piece reacting pretty much the same way. It’s a shame because the vehicle here – a local digital news clipping service with some some original material – is a great idea and could be a great way to foster an informed community and generate informed dialog, but when something comes out slanted AND unsupported, all it does is get people’s dander up. It’s interesting how one’s world view can be revealed (and shaped) by just what one considers news to either report or read –

  7. Lisa says - Posted: September 3, 2013

    Interesting opinions, but very short of fact. Grazing actually increases the severity and number of catastrophic fires. By eating the grasses down to the forest floor, there is no capability for there to be quick moving, low temp fires that clear things out. This enables stands of trees to grow thicker and taller, a recipe for catastrophic fire.

    Firebreaks don’t work (preventative ones, not the break used to fight an existing fire). To work, you would need to guess where a fire might occur and cut a path 1/2 mile wide for miles. That is what they no longer use them in places like the LA hills. They are useless and a fire can jump them in moments.

    Tanker? We ARE using them. If she is talking about the Evergreen Supertanker 1) it is out of commission and the company has decided not to commission it until next fire season, 2) it can’t fly low enough or slow enough for this kind of fire and 3) it can’t maneuver in the canyons in a place like the Rim Fire.
    It isn’t the number of fires we have that is of concern, since it is natural in all of these areas, it is the size that is of concern.
    While sometimes including logging among the tools, decisions about fire management should be science based, not logging company desire based.