September14 By Cindy Alia
On September 12, Secretary Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques. https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-zinke-directs-interior-bureaus-take-aggressive-action-prevent-wildfires
For too many years, neglect of the forests for supposed environmental protections has been destroying the forests and the environmental benefits people and animals thrive on. The excuse for neglegence has been climate change, that fearful catch all phrase which serves as an excuse to do nothing in forest management. The lack of action to protect our forests has led to the loss of carbon sequestration while at the same time it has created a situation where catastrophic wildfires create a huge mass of carbon while burning, and also while sitting neglected and rotting. Thinning and management should have averted much of the wildfire, and would have created a healthier forest where insect infestations would have been minimized, creating less dead standing forests ripe for fire. It is time to recognize the no touch euphoria of environmental activists has resulted in costs in terms of forest health, healthy air and lost property that will be very difficult to repair. That repair needs to begin now, and the funds wasted on firefighting can be applied to that repair over time. Forests are a beautiful and needed renewable natural resource and it is a shame and a pity that so much of what we all value has been wasted with harmful practices. Undergrowth management, thinning, and logging are a healthy way to manage forests we need to practice so we all can breath easier. We in Washington have lost so much of our formerly healthy forests over the last decade, we need to push for the kinds of better management directed by Secretary Zinke, we need to make sure our agencies are held accountable to follow this directive.