Big Burns Vs. Forest Thinning

You have all seen those photos of forest fires that stopped abruptly when they reached a stand of thinned timber. That can be very misleading. There are plenty of times when the thinning made no difference, and George Wuerthner has some of these “politically incorrect” photos.

Wuerthner is on tour speaking in community after community about the realities of wildfire, and countering the years of political propaganda about wildfires motivated by agencies seeking big budgets and the timber industry trying to justify more logging.

I listened to Wuerthner recently. I think he sometimes goes a bit too far in other direction, but given the magnitude of the propaganda machine he faces, his occasional hyperbole is useful.

Thinning forests is not an all purpose way of stopping wildfiires, nor are wildfires necessarily bad. Guest opinion by George Wuerthner in New West.






Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan