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Fired up over foolish federal forest policies – ‘No logging’ doctrine leaves a tinderbox

by Rick Manning
CFACT

Posted 9/15/2013

Forest fires are raging throughout the western United States as they often do this time of year, and just as thunder follows lightning, we can expect to hear environmentalists and their political shills blame global warming for the tempest.

In fact, a quick Internet search of the terms “forest fires” and “climate change” provides a cascade of responses ranging from attacking California Representative Dana Rohrabacher for dismissing the concept that forest fires and global warming are related to detailed explanations of how the purportedly warming atmosphere is creating drought-like conditions.

An article on the National Wildlife Federation blog complains that the media is missing the big story on the Rim Fire in California which has burned a portion of Yosemite National Park writing, “Yet almost universally missing from the media coverage, as usual: That climate change is making wildfires more frequent and intense. As they have in past years, reporters won’t connect the dots in their main stories, treating the science that’s staring us in the face as a side story.”

The once respectable National Wildlife Federation’s reporting never once mentions that the climate has been stable for the past 15 years and the so-called scientific consensus that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming has collapsed.

But what is more irresponsible in this and hundreds of other reports is that the very environmental fundraisers who are sending out emails demanding money from the gullible based upon the need to stop global warming to save a cute feathery creature from horrific demise by fire are likely partially responsible for the fire damage being done.

By using the Endangered Species Act and through an anti-logging Forest Management doctrine, dead and dying timber has been left uncut and wilderness areas have been left road-free.

The effect is devastating.

The dried out dead and dying trees act as kindling that accelerates a fire’s growth and intensity, while the non-existent roads eliminate both fire breaks and the ability to get equipment and personnel into areas to allow fires to be more easily contained.

There is no doubt that fires burn in both managed and unmanaged forests, the difference is that in managed areas the timbering itself creates natural fire breaks, creates man-made access to the outbreak making it easier to fight, and the forestry practice itself is designed to protect the maximum number of trees from fire.

The disaster of a fire ravaging a forest becomes doubly acute for a company that owns the rights to cut timber. For a timber company, a devastating forest fire is not only an environmental disaster, but also an economic one that destroys the product that they plan to harvest to provide the wood the world needs to build homes, furniture and other structures.

It is in the financial interest of these firms to take care and manage this renewable resource responsibly to ensure that when the inevitable fire occurs, the chances of it consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of forest lands are minimized.

The next time you hear or read of an “activist” bemoaning the critical habitat lost through a forest fire and urging action on global warming it would be wise to ask what role did anti-timber policies play in exacerbating the devastation?

When the next fundraising appeal arrives in your mail box with a furry critter surrounded by the charred remains of what used to be its home, question whether that organization has supported responsible timber management practices or has pursued a zero use policy that is directly responsible for the kind of high intensity fires we are now seeing out west.

Environmental fundraisers frequently depend upon people who respond emotionally to a heartbreaking picture without engaging in the critical thinking to discover whether the proposed solutions are viable or even helpful.

Remember that the environmental fundraiser makes money in the aftermath of a disaster, while those who make a living from the resource make money by preventing and limiting the disaster.

For me, I will trust someone who loses millions of dollars if a forest burns to engage in responsible practices to save that investment over someone who sees a forest fire as a means to raise money to lobby against global warming.

It is time to start listening to the timber companies when it comes to forestry management rather than the shrill voices of those whose no-cut ideas have had disastrous consequences.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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