What you don’t know about Forest Fires
The Rim Fire raging in California near Yosemite National Park and the water reservoir for much of San Francisco and Silicon Valley residents, is now one of the largest in California’s recent history. Dramatic media stories usually dwell on what’s currently happening with fire fighting efforts, but little ink is spent looking at the suite of issues that can make forest fires bigger, faster and more dangerous to people and our nation’s treasured forests. 1. Industrial logging has increased fire risk: Industrial logging has dramatically increased fires and fire risk by removing large commercially-valuable trees — the very trees which are the most resistant to fire, and which create shade. Logging older trees and opening up the forest canopy makes things hotter and drier, and more prone to fire. The sticks and wood leftover from logging, called “slash,” often remain behind for years on the ground like kindling. Industrial logging also requires roads. Many thousands of old, unneeded logging roads riddle our National Forests, serving as super-highways for flammable, invasive weeds. In addition, these roads increase accidental and intentional human fires in our forests. The legacy of tax-payer subsidized logging on our public lands and industrial logging on private lands has left us with a mess that will take many generations to fix. Click here for more information.