Letters to the Editor

Howard letter: Wildfires

Throughout a decade of unparalleled wildfire destruction, the enviro-community has grown uncharacteristically quiet. Though I have always supported the ideology behind their efforts, apparently global warming was missing from their strategy. Consider the environmental triple whammy: 1) Billions of dollars spent annually for ongoing environmental litigation fees that hobble the timber (and several other) industry and raise the cost of raw materials — costs that naturally get passed along to you and me. 2) Billions to fight massive wildfires fueled by overgrown, mismanaged forests and rangelands. 3) Billions in lost revenue to both the timber and tourism industries wrought by the incineration of our valuable public lands.

Though environmental efforts are always commendable, good intentions are no match for reality. Let us not mistake good intentions for the moral or intellectual high ground. Like doting parents who spoil their children, zealous efforts by old-school conservationists left our lands prettier to look at but of diminished potential and dangerously bloated — a tragedy waiting to happen.

Effective conservation efforts going forward must involve major reductions in greenhouse gases and a gargantuan expansion of our wildfire suppression budget ... plus wiser management and use of our valuable public lands. “Use it or lose it” suddenly makes perfect sense.

Michael F. Howard, Boise