Fund healthy forest practices
A few years ago, there was an enormous systematic effort in Sequoia National Monument to reduce fuels around structures and communities within the monument. With popular support among all parties, dense stands of small trees, brush and dead ground fuel that were near settlements were piled and burned. So far there have been no fires to test whether it will actually protect structures from wildfires, but I don’t see how it could not.
I agree with The Bee editorial that the practice of removing funds for programs like this to fight wildfires is unwise. Wildfire has been a part of Western forests for as long as they have existed. However, the man-made climate change that we are experiencing, the earlier arrival of spring, higher temperatures, dryer soil and vegetation is unprecedented as far back as any proxy measurements can be made. This reality, along with a hundred-year-old policy of interrupting the natural fire regimen has resulted in a real risk of catastrophic changes to Sierra forests.
We need long-term plans to address this, to adapt to coming changes and to avert them by moving to non-fossil forms of energy.
August 11, 2015