Friday, August 17, 2012

EDITORIAL: Wise to change fire policy

The 2012 wildfire season already has been one of the worst in U.S. history. As of Wednesday, the National Interagency Fire Center reported 63 large wildfires were burning, totaling more than 1.2 million acres. The 6.5 million acres burned so far in 2012 are the most acres burned by wildfires in the last decade. The increase in wildfires this year, strengthened by drought conditions in the western United States, has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to temporarily abandon its policy of allowing national forest supervisors to let small fires in isolated areas that are started by natural causes, usually by lightning, to burn. The USFS will now send fire crews to fight all fires before they can grow in size and require more resources to contain. The Forest Service said its change in fire policy was in response to the drought and the number of fires that are bigger and more severe than in average years. The USFS said it would review its change in fire policy if drought conditions improve...There is no sign that the drought is improving in the western United States, and the potential for damaging wildfires is only going to get worse. Given the widespread drought and high number of large fires burning in the western United States, a change in national fire policy to fight small fires before they get too big and outstrip available resources is a wise decision...more

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The policy has just about ruined all of the National Forest, those with trees, through neglect and green stupidity. Congress needs to turn the National Forests over to private industry. How many forest fires have you seen lately on private forested lands?