Thin and burn
As a lifelong resident and outdoorsman making his living in the outdoor recreation industry, I too am frustrated by another smoke-filled summer.
I am also frustrated to hear on talk radio, and read in social media and local newspapers, a mountain of falsehoods concerning our forests and fire. Rather than romanticizing the myth that logging was historically our sole safeguard from fire, it’s time to recognize there is more than the lack of yesteryear’s logging play.
We know now that clearcut logging on millions of acres of public and industry land has partly put us in this pickle. Look at Canada right now. It’s on fire and they are clearcutting like no tomorrow up there.
We can do better. Thinning dense forests near homes and at-risk communities can produce commercially viable logs and safeguard our homes. These logs can be used by mills and help create jobs. Instead of going back to cutting the last of our mighty, old forests, why don’t we make the investment in thinning the thick, small trees out of forest near homes?
And why don’t we do more controlled fires in the damp seasons of the year? This could reduce the risk of wildfires in summer and would produce much less smoke cover than during the summer height of our tourist season.
It’s time we come together and urge our elected officials to provide the funding necessary to carry out responsible, proactive forest management.