Monday, August 01, 2011

Arizona Cattlemen's Association calls for steps to take control of forestland

Roxanne Knight came to Prescott to share a message about forest thinning. Knight, a rancher and hotel owner, said her family came close to losing more than 300 head of cattle earlier this summer as the Wallow Fire burned around them in eastern Arizona. Knight was in Prescott for the annual Arizona Cattlemen's Convention that culminated in a gathering Friday night at Las Vegas Ranch. She believes better forest policies could have prevented the blaze from turning into the biggest wildfire in state history. "The message I want to share is that this fire was tragic, it was senseless, it was unnecessary (and) had it not been for a lot of misguided policies over the last 20, 30 years, our forest did not have to get in that condition," she said. "Natural fires are one thing, monster fires like this are created by failed policies of forest management, and we have to change it. If we don't we will have no forest left in the Southwest." More than 300 ranchers from around the state came together to hear Gov. Jan Brewer give a brief speech at the ranch on forest thinning and grazing in the wake of the Wallow, Horseshoe 2 and Monument fires that she said burned more than 1 percent of the state's total land mass this fire season. Brewer called for a plan to salvage damaged trees, thin forest lands, create jobs and take a proactive approach to preventing wildfires from turning into destructive events...more

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