The results of the Pioneer Fire this year point an accusing finger at current wildfire management practice. And Pioneer is not an isolated instance, as we all know. The modern idea seems to be that fires are good for the forest and that we should have more rather than fewer of them. And when a really big fire gets going the blame of course lands squarely on fire suppression practices of the past. Those were years when Idaho’s forests were considered more valuable for the products they supplied than for justifying the hire of thousands of bodies and machines and toasting marshmallows. We had a sawmill in almost every town in those years and if you wanted to have a logging job or a sawmill job next year you gladly helped put out a forest fire. Smokejumpers also had a big role, usually being on a fire within a few hours after it was spotted. They put out hundreds of them. The forest was considered an asset to be used, a big difference from today. It is unfortunate in my opinion that the modern idea seems to be to burn (hooray) rather than use (boo) our forests. What arrogance.
Don Adair, Boise
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