Aug 06, 2018
It’s wildfire season. Time for another call for forest restoration. In October of 2016, The Bee published an article entitled, “Restoring forests to tame wildfires means more Valley water.” It pointed out the promise of restoring forests to what the condition they were in before “civilized” management. Pre-Columbian forests were open and park-like. Native Americans actively managed them. Crown fires, which destroy forests, were rare. Fires at ground level were the norm.
Since the passage in 2003 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, the effort to restore forests has blossomed in many places. But, not here. Why this could happen is a mystery. The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service and most Western states are actively engaged in restoring their forests to protect wildlife, watersheds, animals and humans. But, not here.
Today’s forest restoration efforts use simulation to look ahead to see the effect of management practices. Restored forests protect nearby housing. They burn at ground level, protecting forest dwelling animals and clearing out dangerous fuel. It’s time to at least talk about forest restoration. It works. Waiting another generation just means more casualties. Is this acceptable?