Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Up in Smoke

Given the wildfires in California, it is worthwhile to take a look at U.S. Forest Service Fire Policy. Here is a good summary of that policy. You can also access the complete paper there, which is well worth reading.

The U.S. Forest Service fire suppression policy is a one size fits all policy, but forests vary by regions. Some forests need to have vegetation burnt back in order to thrive and some trees will only release seeds when exposed to intense heat.

On top of that, disposing of the underbrush, either by burning or physical removal, creates an environment where fires are much easier to control.

The primary way to facilitate a more rational fire policy is to move toward more local control of forest lands. Then maybe policies that fit the particular forest will be adopted and more controlled burning will be allowed.

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