Letters to the Editor

Controlled burns?

I'm a big supporter of the National Park Service and its mission to grant access and protect our most treasured national resources. I'm even in favor of fire-management programs like the thinning of forests and controlled burns, which improve forest and wildlife health.

The issue which is seldom discussed is why the NPS schedules control burns in September. Answer: It's the end of the fiscal year. If Yosemite doesn't spend excess money by Sept. 30, those funds will be sent back to the U.S. Treasury. So, burns are scheduled when conditions are less than ideal and with a little change in wind direction, a simple controlled burn ends up costing taxpayers $8 million to extinguish.

This practice could be considered an odd way to stimulate the local economy. My suggestion is to budget controlled burns in late October and November, which seems a more responsible way to spend tax money. Taxpayers deserve a change of policy.

Michael Paulissen

Fresno

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