Senators want more timber sales to protect urban areas

Stage Hill Fire
Stage Hill Fire
Stage Hill Fire near Cascade, SD, June 16, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert

The six US Senators in Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota have signed a letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recommending an increase in the number of timber sales on national forests in areas prone to wildfires. In the letter dated November 8 the senators said overgrown forests, drought, vast stretches of trees killed by beetles, and more people living in fire zones have left the West at a critical juncture. They urged the US Forest Service to conduct more forest thinning near critical infrastructure and in areas where urban areas are up against forests.

The letter was signed by Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado; Mike Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming; and Tim Johnson and John Thune of South Dakota.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

6 thoughts on “Senators want more timber sales to protect urban areas”

  1. Of course these morons want to sell off timber from public lands. Who pays their bills?
    If they were interested in fire suppression they might think about supporting controlled burns or labor-intensive thinning projects. But that would just provide work for taxpayers rather than profits for Weyerhauser.

  2. The other thing they don’t realize is that while we can try and sell all the timber we want, there simply isn’t much of a market for it these days. $30/ton for logs to simply go to the chipping mill barely pays the bills.

    Not to mention that a lot of the sawmills in these areas have closed…

  3. Maybe the LMA’s have not “briefed” these folks in / omn the Beltway about all the sawmill closings or maybe they choose not to listen to some of their constituents.

    But I am willing to bet the the same folks who have been SOOOOO effective in explaining away the airtanker program and securing THAT budget over the last twenty to 40 years are the same ones that are so effective in being the stewards of the land.

    Problem is….when these folks were in forestry college back 40 + years ago, some we probably asleep in the Forest Policy class that many of us endured and the ones with the 4.0 GPA’s went on to industry or higher levels of Guv, often missing the point that there may have been some need for some political acumen to “RUN” the LMA’s!!!

    My point being………USFS and LMA’s have proved that in the real serious arenas such as timber and airtankers….their political and intestinal fortitude for learning and earning their way to DC is sorely lacking.

    The LMA’s seriously NEED people with Public Administration degrees at these levels….’cuz Forestry degrees and “LMA specific aviation credentialing” sure “ain’t” doin it!!

    When I talk about aviation credentialing….I mean Aviation degrees with substance and depth of industry……not just some OJT Government stuff that makes folks feel all good that they MAY be exceeding FAA standards in their “aviation world.”

    Call it what you will….the morons in DC or the morons in the LMA’s?? There is TWO sides to every story and what the 535 do not see, there is an equal amount of folks in the LMA’s that could wear the same labels here, also!!

  4. It doesn’t help that there is ALWAYS somebody out there waiting to jump on any federal agency that even whispers about putting an axe to forests.

  5. Firesafe programs, brush clearing and prevention measures would be a lot more practical and cost effective and provide longer term local economical return. I just don’t see a lot of commercialy valuable lumber aroud the edges of urban areas. It would have been cut years ago. Like people who live on the sea coast people who live on the urban/wildland fire interface need to be aware of the risks and take the right measures. This includes that they many lose their home to the often un-controbable forces of nature.

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