Thanks to the editorial board for “The perilous challenges on California’s wildfire lines.” Unfortunately, the solution to California’s wildfire problem appears too late in the article and is not adequately explained.
Paradoxically, the solution is more fire — much more fire. Today’s fires are hotter and more dangerous and destructive precisely because there is no longer enough fire in dry mixed conifer forests that once naturally experienced fire on an average of about every five years on every single square foot. That’s right — every square foot about every five years!
Despite monster fires like last year’s Rim fire or this year’s Rocky fire, these forests now experience less than a tenth of the burned area they need annually to remain healthy and resilient against drought and uncharacteristically hot fire.
And it’s not a matter of cutting down large trees! Cutting large, fire-resistant trees is exactly the wrong strategy. There is room for cutting timber, but most of the trees harvested must be small, because small trees fuel hot canopy fires. But most of the job must be done by fire itself — prescribed fire and managed wildfire.
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Please write your congressional representative and demand more money for adequate prescribed fire and managed wildfire.
Chip Ashley, Tollhouse