Rocky Barker: Reducing fire threat through forest thinning and logging

March 10, 2014 

Rocky Barker, author of "Scorched Earth: How The Fires Of Yellowstone Changed America," fire boss Beth Lund, Rep. Mike Simpson, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Sen. Mike Crapo show the connection between firefighting, policy and collaboration in forestry.

IDAHO STATESMAN

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell made clear when he was in Boise last month that longer fire seasons and hotter summers, which last year brought yet another season of record low fuel moisture, are expected to continue.

But Tidwell said as overwhelming as these climatic changes have been, he's confident we can preserve the ecological values forest provide, including sequestering millions of tons of carbon dioxide. His prescription is for private landowners to clear fuel from their homes and build with fire-resistant materials.

All forest landowners can reduce the fuel build-up in their forests with fire and mechanical thinning and logging. His scientists also are plotting new species mixes to adjust to the changing conditions on the ground.

This won't be done without support from all sides of the forest and fire debate. That's why Tidwell is pinning his hopes on collaboration to restore the resilience he thinks is critical to the future of our forests and the communities and nations that depend on them.

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