Sunday, August 9, 2015

Why We Need to Learn to Live with Wildland Fire

Charred remains of a house in Clearlake, CA this week. Photo: Jeff Chiu, Associated Press


This strategy is starting to come up in conversation a lot these days.  At the Wildland Fire Leadership Council meeting in Ashland on July 29th, I heard this from folks in the audience more than once.  Resilience will only be achieved one way.  

Read Kyle Dickman's full article here.  Worth reading.  

Mr. Dickman pulls no punches.  "We created our fire problem, and virtually everything we're doing to combat it only makes it worse."  

He goes on:  The two bills before Congress right now are just "a Band-Aid on a cancer patient....Whether the money's coming out of FEMA's coffers or the Forest Service's, the government is still spending taxpayer dollars to continue the failed policy of fire suppression." 

"The solution is to stop extinguishing every glowing spark, and to start treating wildfires like floods: predictable and sometimes uncontrollable events that homeowners and towns can plan around. Thinning forests outside communities, lighting more prescribed burns to eliminate the most volatile grasses and brush, and being more selective about which fires we fight would help restore forests, protect towns and mitigate the destruction of future fires.

That means giving up the delusion that every stretch of land is fit for human development. Cities, counties, states and the federal government must stop effectively subsidizing bad construction practices by risking firefighter lives to protect homes built in the most fire-prone areas. "  

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