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Responding to views on forest fires

Letter to the Editor

In the Jan. 11 issue of the Free Press [page 1A] was an article entitled, “Orogrande project put on hold pending lawsuit.” Mr. Gary Macfarlane made a couple of statements I would like to comment on.

“Logging the backcountry doesn’t help protect homes or structures.” Where does he think the roads come from to get firefighters to an area to put fire out? Plus, it helps thin the forest and provide wood product jobs for building new homes. Because our forests are getting so overgrown, it is impossible to put a fire out now with firefighters on the ground. And unless the USFS gets right on it immediately, while it is still small, it is impossible to put out from the air without ground support.

He also stated, “There is research that also shows that logging may actually increase fire severity because it opens up the forest canopy which helps dry out the site.” What does he think a huge fire of 100,000 acres or more does? Let me tell you what it does. It ruins the scenic beauty, it destroys the watershed; consequently, there is less than half of the normal flow of water that comes from the area. It destroys big game habitat. When the burnt trees start falling over, it increases the fuel load. Plus, the only thing that grows back is either brush or small trees so thick that you cannot walk through the area, so consequently the forest is overgrown and will never produce anything.

A huge fire does two things: It puts huge amounts of carbon in the air, which is food to woody plants and trees, which leads to our forest being overgrown. Fire is just looking for a place to happen without proper management.

Leonard Wallace

New Meadows


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