Currently viewing the category: "Wildfire"

Thinning Nuance

On July 6, 2021 By

 

Thinning is often justified on the assumption that reducing “fuels” will slow or stop large blazes, but there is more nuance to the issue than just fuels. Photo George Wuerthner

One frequently hears from proponents of thinning that active forest management can reduce fire intensity and thus is a beneficial policy […]

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One hears continuously that the Forest Service doesn’t clearcut anymore. Of course, what constitutes a clearcut is subject to interpretation. The following photos are all taken on the Deschutes NF in Oregon. These are “forest thinning” projects designed to reduce wildfires and “improve” forest health. How many trees do you need to leave behind so […]

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Wildflowers along the North Fork of the Salmon River near Salmon, Idaho. Photo George Wuerthner

High Country News tries to portray itself as a source of environmental news, but reporting on wildfire issues often leaves much to be desired.

In its recent June 1, 2021 article Wildfire and A Forest Worth Fighting […]

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Post-fire logging (deceptively termed “salvage”)  after the Pole Creek Fire on Deschutes NF removes carbon, biomass and degrades forest ecosystems. Photo George Wuerthner

In a recent May 29 Bend Bulletin article, Senator Merkley asserted he “wants to boost spending on forest management by $1 billion annually through work, such as thinning and […]

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The aftermath of the Las Conchas  Blaze in 2011 in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. Photo George Wuerthner 

 

An excellent overview of wildfire issues was published in the Revelator. https://therevelator.org/wildfire-archive/

I encourage folks to review it.

I especially appreciate the linkage of recent large fires to drought and […]

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Thinned lodgepole pine forest on Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest. As often is the case, thinning puts more “fine” fuels on the ground which can promote fire spread. Photo George Wuerthner 

Montana Senator Daines announced that he intends to reintroduce wildfire legislation co-sponsored by California Senator Diane Feinstein that, among other things, would […]

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Large blazes like the Camp Fire which leveled this McDonald’s in Paradise CA are driven by extreme fire weather, particularly wind. Active forest management including thinning and prescribe fire does nothing to prevent such blazes. Photo George Wuerthner 

Recently California Governor Newsom came out with a proposed fire budget of over […]

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Northern Spotted Owl Photo US FWS

A couple of years ago, I attended a meeting of the Deschutes Collaborative. Spotted Owls and wildfire was the topic that day. The meeting was a classic example of how collaboratives selectively use science to justify more logging of our forests.

The two-hour meeting featured a […]

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Rural subdivision in Gallatin County, Montana. Photo George Wuerthner

Back when I was a student at the University of Montana in Missoula, I had a girlfriend who managed to rent a house adjacent to the Bitterroot Mountains near Hamilton. All of us were very jealous of her luck in obtaining a place […]

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To many foresters and others who advocate for “active forest management,” a fire that results in high tree mortality is considered evidence of an “unhealthy” forest. Photo George Wuerthner 

This past week I was invited to present my views on forest health and fire ecology to a group of Washington State […]

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey