Saturday, March 16, 2013

Let's Make Forest Fire Policy!

Here's a fellow in Washington, D.C. setting U.S. forest fire policy in 1920.  

The end result of 90 years of whole-sale forest fire suppression in the American West has been massive tracts of forest packed with beetle-bore dead kindling waiting to burn white hot.  Instead of the kind of smaller "cool fires" that used to run along the ground, clearing out undergrowth and suppressing insect infestation, we now have massive white-hot crown fires that kill every living thing.

To be clear, I am not kicking federal bureaucrats who started off with good intentions. 

Let's be clear that state bureaucrats were no better when it came to forest fire policy, and that lumber company lobbyists were, and are, a big part of the problem as their theory is that every fire left to burn is timber that cannot be cut, and profit that cannot be made. 

The point is that there is a Law of Unintended Consequences.  Any time we mess too much with Mother Nature, we are probably playing a losing game.  Mother Nature bats last, and she has a mighty swing. 

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