White River thinning unwarranted
Dear Editor:So the new White River National Forest supervisor wants to start aggressively thinning the forest to prevent what she calls catastrophic fires. As she familiarizes herself with the forest, she’ll come to realize that the vast majority of the WRNF is within its historic range of variability. This means that it is in a healthy, natural condition and the threat of catastrophic fires is negligible. Therefore, extensive thinning to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire is unwarranted and will actually degrade forest health rather than restore it.The key is to provide real and attainable protection to local communities and residences in the wildland-urban interface by treating the areas immediately adjacent to these structures. Once communities are fire safe, the natural fires that have maintained forest health for eons can safely be allowed to burn without jeopardizing lives and homes in local communities. The next fire is inevitable; losing homes and lives isn’t. Living with fire-adapted forests requires that our communities are equally fire adapted. I urge the new forest supervisor to focus her limited resources where they will do the most good, in the ignition zone immediately adjacent to structures at risk.Sloan ShoemakerExecutive DirectorWilderness Workshop
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