More than half the nation's federal forest estate – some 100 million acres – is either dying, dead or has already burned. About 73 million acres have burned over the last 10 years – most of it in western national forests. 9.6 million acres this year.
This is Part 2 of our series "It's Time to Declare War on Wildfire." This section begins with Rob Freres describing the impacts of wildfire on private lands due to the incompetence of the Forest Service managing public lands.
Now that Congress has resolved the fire funding mess – at least temporarily - Interim Forest Service Chief, Vicki Christiansen, has had much to say about how she intends to more aggressively attack these fires and their primary underlying cause.
The U.S. House of Representatives has belatedly fixed the fire borrowing mess that has for several years forced the Forest Service to borrow taxpayer money from its forest restoration budgets to pay its ever- increasing fire-fighting bills.
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We can learn much from our nation's forest priorities, policies and practices, which have always tracked with our country’s ever-shifting felt necessities. But the blame game is a useless and unhelpful exercise. What would be helpful is a more constructive rural-urban dialogue about the losses we are all suffering, and what we can do collectively [politically] to mitigate them.
When we leave forests to Nature, as so many people today seem to want to do, we get whatever Nature serves up, which can be pretty devastating at times. But with forestry we have options, and a degree of predictability not found in Nature.
The U.S. Forest Service estimates that 90 million acres of the nation's federal forest estate are in Condition Class 3 or 2 – a fire ecologists’ rating system that attempts to account for the ecological damage a wildfire might do to a forest. Class 3 forests are said to be “ready to burn,” while Class 2 forests soon will be.
In this interview, Groeschl answers questions concerning Good Neighbor Authority [GNA], implementing legislation embedded in the 2014 Farm Bill that permits the Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands to partner with one another on high priority forest restoration projects on National Forests in Idaho.
Mitch Friedman is the Founder and Executive Director of Conservation Northwest, a Seattle-based conservation group...In this interview, Friedman discusses Conservation Northwest's collaborative successes, still bothersome regrets from his Earth First years and his belief that collaboration offers the best hope for resolving still contentious issues concerning the management of the West’s National Forests.
Change. In this exclusive and quite timely Evergreen interview, Governor Otter offers his thoughts on the significance of President-elect Trump's improbable victory and the millions of acres of federal forest and rangeland that is in environmental crisis. Somewhere between 80 and 90 million acres of federal forest land in the West are on the brink of ecological collapse. These lands are vital to our entire nation’s social, economic and environmental health. We have a lot of work to do and not much time left in which to get it done.
There is something unethical about allowing a person or a group that refused to participate in the collaborative planning of the project to file an appeal on the project. The essence of collaboration means that you work through the issues within a project and help solve the problems. Bring a solution, not litigation.
McGee discusses collaborative success. "As a direct result of all their hard work we have a pathway forward. We also have the science, tools, technologies and skill sets needed to move forward with the restoration work necessary to protect forests that are the cornerstones and building blocks of both our rural and urban lifestyles."
"I would absolutely encourage anyone to pursue a career in forestry or any other natural resource-based career. The more we can introduce local kids to the career opportunities available in their backyard, the better. There's also a shortage of professional truck drivers. We need young people to bring their families back to their hometowns to fill those jobs, especially in light of recent mill closures that will have serious social and economic impacts on communities."
It is a myth to say Categorical Exclusions will over-ride federal environmental laws and exempt logging from any analysis or disclosure of adverse environmental impacts and eliminate public involvement
Commissioner Goldmark discusses his growing concerns for the rapidly deteriorating condition of national forests east of the Cascades, related economic and environmental impacts, and what might be done to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in Washington's forests.
The world's consumers aren’t using less wood, nor should they. Wood is the most environmentally friendly structural building material on earth, and good forestry is key to reducing civilization’s carbon foot print. That’s my story and I intend to keep telling it. Erin Bradetich
Strong partnerships are forming between federal and state resource management agencies, county governments, community leaders, conservationists, recreation interests and lumbermen, all in pursuit of a common and cohesive vision that, at the implementation level where we work, is already producing new and very exciting economic, environmental and social benefits.
The National Environmental Policy Act is the legal foundation on which all successful collaborations rest. You cannot saw this branch off the legal tree and expect that diverse forest stakeholder collaboratives built on trust and mutual respect will continue to prosper as citizen, project-based tools for resolving disagreements over how our national forests should be managed.
The Forest Service shares Governor Bullock's concern and his goal. Minus the presence of local, competitive and sustainable larger timber manufacturing infrastructure, the kind of collaborative forest restoration work we all envision is not possible. We are basing this forest’s five-year planning revision on the Governor’s Priority Landscape project on this forest.
We are at a crossroads with forest health, our mills and the future condition of our forests. The aftermath of a years-long mountain pine beetle epidemic, stalled projects on thousands of acres of national forests, and continued threats from wildfires provide a strong basis for increased focus on how we manage forests and how we ensure we have a vibrant wood products industry providing good-paying jobs for Montanans.
When cases are litigated misusing the intention of the Equal Access to Justice Act, the losses add up - whether the agency wins, loses, or the case is settled. Collateral damage includes lost local and regional business activity, decline in community health, lost timber sale revenue, foregone and delayed work, and analytical and administrative costs the Forest Service must pay from public funds.